Sports Nutrition

Does this conversation sound familiar to you? “But mom, why can’t we bring in freezies and chips for the end of the game, Sally’s parents did last week?”

As a parent of 2 teen-aged children, I have had the opportunity to sign them up for a variety of sports activities over the years, and of course, one of the highlights for my children was the snacks provided by parents at half-time or the end of the game.  This parent duty is common for many sports teams and I’ve seen many examples of healthy snacks being offered. However, I’ve also see all-too-many examples of less than healthy options.

If children participate in community sports they probably won’t even require a snack at half time or at the end of a game, but they will require water.  Keep in mind, if you’re bringing the refreshments, that if children drink sugary beverages or eat too much food during a game or practice, it may cause stomach cramping.  If you’re bringing in half-time snack, make it something light and refreshing.

I always appreciated it when my children’s coaches provided a list of healthy snacks to bring and asked parents to “stick to the list”.  This was helpful in two ways: first, it meant the coach set the standard; second, it avoided battles about the kind of snack to provide when it was our turn to bring them.

Some examples of healthy snack alternatives can include:

  • Fresh fruits like oranges, watermelon, or grapes.
  • Fresh veggies like celery sticks and mini carrots.
  • If  bringing a post-event snack, some convenient healthier options can include cheese strings, yogurt tubes, mini juice boxes (100% fruit juice), whole grain fruit bars, and unsweetened applesauce cups.

The Dietitians of Canada, Canada’s Food Guide, and Eat Right Ontario are some great resources for more healthy snack ideas.

Also, make sure your children are well-fed on sports activity days.  It’s important for your child to arrive well fuelled before the event! That might mean providing snacks to go or making sure they have had a healthy meal a few hours before.

    • Healthy pre-event snacks can include whole grain cereal with milk, hummus with whole wheat pita bread, or yogurt with fruit.
    • Some favourite pre-event meals can include pasta with meat sauce and salad, chicken with rice, veggies and milk, scrambled eggs and toast with juice.

You can also call EatRight Ontario to speak to a Registered Dietitian about healthy eating or for more ideas about eating well for sports activities.

Providing healthy snacks or meals at home before community sports or at the event itself provides an excellent opportunity to show children and youth that healthy eating and physical activity go hand-in-hand. Go team!

Share your experience:

For nutrition information, or to share your kids’ sporting experiences, talk to one of us directly:

  • Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
  • Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
  • Email us at
  • Call the HaltonParents line for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

Jessica MacKay is a Registered Dietitian with the Halton Region Health Department.  She has been working with the Halton community for more than 20 years and has been working in the area of children and youth for the past 12 years.  Jessica enjoys staying active, eating well and enjoying time with her family which includes 2 teen-aged children.

This entry was posted in Children & Tweens, Healthy Eating for Toddlers & Preschoolers, Healthy Eating for Your Child/Tween, Healthy Eating for your Teen, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Parenting Your Toddler & Preschooler, Teens, Toddlers & Preschoolers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Sports Nutrition

  1. And remember…the parent in charge of snacks should bring a container to the sports field to collect left over fruit peels, rinds and cores. That way, these items can be brought home and placed in your GreenCart for composting.

    Using a reusable water bottle is always best. If you must use single use disposable water bottles, remember to collect them all up and bring them home to place in your Blue Box for recycling. Remember, the caps go in the garbage.

    If you do go with a fruit juice, remember that juice boxes are better than juice pouches/(jammers because the juice boxes can be brought home and placed in the Blue Box for recycling, while the juice pouches/jammers end up in the garbage.

    Also, empty yogurt tubes and cheese string wrappers go in the garbage, so from a waste management perspective, they aren’t the best option.

    It is always best to bring the waste home with you — that way you can help reduce litter in our parks, and help prevent bees, wasps and rodents from hanging around park waste bins.

    – John Watson, Waste Diversion Education Coodinator, Halton Region
    BLOG; TWITTER @HaltonRecycles

  2. Lilly Sulug says:

    Thanks for sharing the great additional info and tips. Greatly appreciated. ^ls

  3. Pingback: Going green while going for the gold at the Olympics | HaltonRecycles

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