Healthy Snacks for Young Athletes

by R. Carnavale | June 11th, 2013 | Diet Strategy, Healthy Snacks

Crackers- Wheat ThinsAs a parent, you strive to ensure your children grow up fit and strong. Encouraging your children to exercise and play sports will help as will your promoting healthy eating habits. Your child athlete will have higher food and fluid requirements than the average child and will require more vitamins and minerals (especially calcium and iron for strong bones), protein to build and repair muscles, and carbohydrates for instant energy. To meet your young athlete’s nutritional needs, you’ll need to make sure he or she has healthy snacks in between meals. Here’s a list of snacks that will help your child perform at optimal levels on and off the field:

  • pita bread sandwiches with lean meat like turkey, chicken breast, bison sirloin, venison, lean cuts of beef (tenderloin, top loin, sirloin tip and ground round), liver, and pork loin
  • fresh or dried fruit: apples, pears, bananas, peaches, apricots, grapes, cantaloupe, dates, oranges, pineapples, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, clementines, honeydew, blueberries
  • English muffins with honey and yogurt
  • vegetables: carrots, corn, beans, peas, baked potatoes, edame, celery
  • fruit roll-ups
  • protein shakes
  • cold water
  • energy bars
  • fruit-flavored gelatin
  • cereal with milk
  • pasta with tomato sauce
  • bagels with peanut butter and honey
  • apple sauce
  • breakfast bars
  • rice pudding
  • oatmeal cookies
  • low-fat string cheese
  • animal crackers
  • low-fat pudding
  • slices of banana or corn bread
  • eggs
  • frozen fruit bars
  • sports drinks
  • brown rice
  • granola bars or plain granola
  • pancakes
  • fig bars
  • apple, banana, or pear slices coated with nut butter like peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter (beware of food allergies)
  • tortillas
  • cold sesame noodles
  • nuts–peanuts, almonds, walnuts, chestnuts, pistachios (beware of food allergies)
  • cheese paninis
  • waffles
  • crackers with low-fat cheese or low-fat cream cheese
  • tzatziki and pita chips
  • yogurt parfaits
  • Triscuits
  • rice cakes
  • fruit smoothies
  • quinoa
  • trail mix
  • garlic bread sticks
  • guacamole and chips
  • plain popcorn
  • lentil soup
  • pizza
  • oatmeal
  • cottage cheese on whole wheat toast
  • graham crackers
  • chocolate milk
  • pretzels
  • crackers with peanut butter
  • Chex Mix
  • hummus and pita slices
  • paprika cheese sticks
  • peanut butter sandwiches on bagels
  • low-fat soups, such as vegetable

For more information on healthy snacks for young athletes, see Fit Kids for Life: A Parents’ Guide to Optimal Nutrition & Training for Young Athletes by Jose Antonio and Jeffrey R. Stout. Also, Ann Litt’s Fuel for Young Athletes has valuable information on nutrition as does Feeding the Young Athlete: Sports Nutrition Made Easy for Players, Parents, and Coaches by Cynthia Lair and Scott Murdoch.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.