What can I feed my kids before sport or after-school activities?

What can I feed my kids before sport or after-school activities?

January 13, 2018

Eating healthily is not always easy.

As a working parent with kids in sports surely the scenario of rushing to school pick up, swim practice then home for hurried dinner, any homework, bed routine and preparation of lunches for the next day is all too familiar!

Many days I find that the balanced lunch I lovingly prepared has been barely touched because they ‘didn’t have time’. Despite having packed foods they like, playing with friends, art club etc. prioritize eating lunch.

As a Sport Dietitian and active Mum this frustrates me as I want my child to be well fueled for learning as well as her swim training.

There are a few strategies to overcome this dilemma:

  • Empower and include children in making lunch choices and preparation (time permitting)- they may be more likely to eat it if they participated
  • Encourage finishing left over lunch as after school snack before offering something new
  • As the parent, plan ahead on days with afterschool activities/sports by stashing non-perishable snacks in your bag, purse and/or car

Nutrition Guidelines and information for participation in sporting activities:

  • Higher intensity exercise uses glycogen which is the storage form of carbohydrate in your muscles and liver
  • Include lower GI (glycemic index) foods in the meal prior to activity (pasta, yogurt, orange, sandwich on multigrain bread) (ideally 2-3 hours before)
  • Consume easier to digest (lower fat, fiber and protein) snack 1-2hrs prior to activity

Some pre training snack examples:

    • Fruit smoothie
    • Cereal with milk
    • Yogurt
    • Fruit- can be squished/damaged however this can be minimized by preparing ahead of time ; ie. Slicing apples and covering with lemon juice to prevent browning, having a banana carry case
    • Go Native bar or bites – compact, portable, all natural fruit product and long shelf life to be placed in your car, bag as an optimal, no prep pre - swim or training snack

This article is written by Celine Evans, Registered Dietician. 

Celine Evans is a Kiwi / Canadian. She has prepared over 50 individualised Nutrition Presentations to groups and sports teams of all ages and levels across the Wellington (NZ) Region.


 Most recent roles include:

  • Performance Nutritionist for Wellington based elite athletes at High Performance Sport NZ
  • Consulting practice at Wellington Sports Medicine
  • Professional Practice Fellow for Masters of Dietetics students, University of Otago, NZ
  • Sports Dietitian for Pulse Netball team
  • Sports Dietitian for NZ School of Dance
  • Sports Dietitian for Wellington Rugby Academy

Find out more at: http://nutrition360.co


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