My daughters’ sports schedule has changed over the past couple weeks. On the plus side, we are home at dinner time more. On the downside, this involves at least one day a week where we have exactly 15 minutes from the time school is dismissed to race to the minivan, change clothes, drive and eat a snack on the road that will give one girl enough energy for an hour long tennis lesson and the other girl energy to do her homework. And sometimes my schedule doesn’t allow me to stop home before I pick them up so the snack has to be something that I can keep in the van.
A good snack to fuel anyone before physical activity should provide some carbohydrates for quick energy and protein for staying power. Preferably, carbohydrates should come fruit fruit, dairy or whole grain and not a bunch of added sugar. Getting enough fluid before physical activity is important to replace losses that occur during a workout. Even a small amount of dehydration can negatively affect physical performance. Providing enough to drink on the way to sports is especially important when going straight after school. Most children do not not drink water throughout the day at school. You do not need a sports drink (which is full of simple sugar); water or milk is a better option.
Here’s a list of my 10 favorite car snacks. They can all be eaten in a reasonable amount of time and provide the nutrition a young athlete needs. Some are things you can keep in the car and some you can fix ahead and keep in the fridge and grab before you walk out the door. Milk is a perfect drink with any of these snacks; it provides extra carbs, protein and fluid. And don’t forget a bottle of water for during and after practice!
Top 10 Car Snack with Kids
- Granola bars. I prefer bars that have whole grains and some protein as well. My kids and I love Kashi bars. They have lots of different varieties (crunchy, chewy, fruity, etc) and while they have differing amounts of calories and protein any one of these makes a good, quick snack. Read nutrition facts labels carefully for different brands of granola bars – you would be surprised at the widely varying nutritional profiles!
- Half a peanut butter sandwich. Add banana and honey. Or a favorite type of jelly. Or even sprinkle a couple chocolate chips on it if you’re feeling particularly nice!
- Apple slices and slices of cheese. Or apple slices with peanut butter in a little cup, although this could get messy with younger children.
- Homemade trail mix. Any combination of raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots, dried plums, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, dry cereal, pretzels.
- A cup of low fat yogurt and a baggie of grapes.
- Crackers and string cheese
- Smoothies. Either buy pre-bottled smoothies at the store or make your own from frozen fruit and milk (cow or soy). Add some sweetener of choice to make it tasty. Frozen mango chunks, banana and milk makes a fabulous smoothie. Put in a covered “to go” cup or straw bottle to avoid messy spills.
- Rice cakes or crackers and hummus.
- In a tortilla, roll up some lunch meat and cheese then cut into slices to make little roll-ups.
- Whole grain mini bagel and cream cheese.