Our oldest son (4 years old) recently started his first organized sport; soccer. So, I guess that makes me a “soccer Mom” or something like that. Anyways, so far, I like it; the smiles, the yelling, the fun, the dedication, and all the excited little players. BUT, there’s one thing I don’t like (and wasn’t really prepared for), and that’s all the junk food!
I’m not sure why getting groups of kids together, especially in a team environment, seems to necessitate offering unhealthy food, but it IS something I would love to see change and that change can start with us! Today I am sharing five healthy team snack ideas for toddlers and kids, including the recipe for my Chocolate Chip + Sunbutter Cookie Dough Protein Balls – These are nut-free and perfect for a crowd! In fact, all 5 of these are great ideas for teams and snacking on-the-go. These are all healthy, natural alternatives, and comparable in price to the traditional store-bought treats you too often will find on the sidelines. So, let’s say no to brownies and greasy chips and yes to a healthier way to refuel our active little ones!
1. Homemade Fruit Cups
Few things are more refreshing than fresh fruit, especially on a hot day or after a bit of play. So, get a package of small paper cups and fill them with rinsed berries and/or other fruits. Fresh fruit cups are perfect for little hands and a great way to get some goodness into little ones. I usually do a combination of berries and other fruits, like strawberry slices or grapes. Refreshing, healthy and kid-approved! *Be sure to cut grapes in half if you are serving this snack to younger players.
2. String Cheese/Cheese Sticks
Grab some string cheese/cheese sticks from your local grocery store, pop them in a cooler and voila! - Team snacks made super simple! String cheese is a favorite in our home, and an excellent option for active little ones outside the home as well. You get carbohydrates for energy and also a good bit of protein and calcium too. String cheese typically comes individually wrapped, which makes it great for passing out to all the little players. Also great if you are required to bring a pre-packaged option (see #3 for another idea). *If choosing cheese as a team snack, be sure to pack a couple of alternative snacks for those who may have a dairy intolerance/allergy. A few small oranges would be a great back up snack to have for those who cannot have cheese.
Some teams, schools, etc. may require that you bring a pre-packaged option, and that can be really difficult with so many packaged choices falling into the unhealthy category. If you have to do store-bought, due to a school or time restriction, opt for mini raisin boxes over fruit snacks, crackers, cookies, etc. Raisins are easy, portable and a yummy, healthy choice with no added sugar. Perfect for refueling without the sugar rush and subsequent crash later on.
Carrots are a fairly kid-friendly vegetable, and since so many little ones don’t get enough veggies each day in their diet, this is a great choice to bring and share with a team. There are so many different ways to serve up carrots too. You can serve up baby carrots,
Carrot “coins” (just sliced, circle cut carrots), carrot sticks, or crinkle cut carrots/ carrot “fries” (just cut up your carrots with a cutter like this one, available on Amazon). And, if you want to serve up a little more color than just orange, pick up some rainbow carrots instead/also! Colors are fun, and often this different offering/presentation will intrigue even the pickiest of eaters!
5. Protein Balls
Quick and easy protein balls (sometimes called energy balls or energy bites) are a fun, team snack option. There are many ways to make protein balls depending on your needs. For a team, I would recommend making a version that is nut-free, so that everyone can enjoy them. My Chocolate Chip + Sunbutter Cookie Dough Protein Balls are perfect because they use sunflower seed butter instead of traditional peanut butter, and with the inclusion of Sneakz Organic, there are even hidden veggies. Make them, throw them in a resealable bag and go! These are always a hit in our home and with friends, and they pack quite a healthy punch!