August 2012

Sports Snacktivism Handbook

by Sally on August 28, 2012

If you’re fed up with junk food snacks on the sidelines and want to take Snacktivism to your child’s team, I’d love to help you!

Below are four resources for you to use

  1. A sample coach letter
  2. A sample team letter
  3. FAQ to answer questions from coaches or parents
  4. A slideshow of photos and stats to share
Please feel free to use these resources for your own teams. You can also download the letter and FAQ by clicking on the title.

Sample Coach Letter

Hi Coach ____,

I wanted to introduce myself. I’m _____’s parent, and we’re all excited about the upcoming season!

I’m writing because I’d like to discuss the topic of team snacks with you. I’m wondering if you would be open to either eliminating the team snack entirely or creating a fresh-fruit-and-water snack policy for our team this season (remember the orange slices we ate on the sidelines when we were kids?). I’m concerned about the junk food I’ve been seeing on the sidelines of kids’ sports. One of the reasons we have our kids in sports is to encourage physical activity and good health, and these kinds of snacks derail that goal. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. And if you decide to go with fresh fruit, I’m also happy to organize a snack schedule for you. 

Thank you!

Sample Team Letter

 Hi everyone,

The coach has asked me to organize the snack schedule this season, and we have a great idea: Remember the orange slices we all ate on the sidelines when we were kids? Let’s bring back them back! We want our kids to play sports so they move their bodies, burn off energy, and be strong–so let’s give them a snack that keeps them healthy.

Here’s what the coach and I are asking of you: Every child brings a water bottle, and parents take turns bringing fresh fruit for after the game. This fruit-only snack policy benefits everyone because there’s less cost (when it’s your turn to bring snacks, you are only in charge of bringing fruit, no drinks) and less mess (no packages to pick up, no juice pouches in landfills). It also means they’ll be hungry for lunch or dinner afterward.

Feel free to bring any fresh fruit you’d like (please wash it so it’s ready to grab and eat). You can also bring small boxes of raisins (but please do not bring fruit roll-ups or fruit snacks, since those are mostly added sugar).

Some ideas: Orange slices, bananas, apples, peaches, pears, watermelon slices, grapes (cut into small bunches), berries or melon balls/chunks in paper cups.

If you don’t think your child will eat fruit or feel he needs something more after the game, please bring your own snack and give it to your child when you’re away from the field.

Remember to bring a full bottle of water to each game for your child. Please do not bring flavored water pouches or juice boxes for players. The best thing for kids to drink before, during, and after sports is regular water, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The electrolytes lost during sweat can easily be replaced at their next meal.

With this snack policy, our team can set an example for the whole league. We all care about our kids and want the best for them, so let’s do something great for their health!

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this snack policy.

Thank you!

Sports Snack Policy FAQ

Why fruit?

Fresh fruit has a little bit of carbohydrates for energy and lots of water for hydration. And kids simply need more of it: 75% of 6-11 year olds don’t get enough fruit. And on any given day, 25% of toddlers and preschoolers don’t eat a single bite of it.

What if I don’t have time to wash and cut up fruit?

Grab a bunch of bananas. It takes the same amount of time to grab those as it does to grab a few boxes of gummy fruit snacks. They’re cheaper, too.

What about sports drinks? Don’t kids need those after exercising?

Actually, no. Sports drinks are designed for endurance athletes. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that most kids need only water to hydrate during and after sports. Those drinks just add a lot of extra calories (plus sugar and dyes). Kids can replenish any lost electrolytes at the next meal or snack.

But our kids are burning off a ton of calories on the soccer field, aren’t they?

Kids burn off far fewer calories in team sports than we think. According to a recent study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, the average 8 year old burns only 150 calories in an hour of sports—but the typical after-game snack has 300- 500 calories.

Don’t kids deserve a treat every once in a while?

The problem is that kids get treats at every turn: School, daycare, preschool, parties. Treats are not the exception anymore; they’ve become the rule. Toddlers and preschoolers get 16 teaspoons of added sugar every day, and 6-11 year olds get 24 teaspoons. One in three children is overweight or obese today. (That’s triple the rate from when we were kids.)

My child won’t eat fruit. Why don’t’ you just bring some fruit for your kid?

The simple fact is that most kids are not going to choose fruit over a Fruit Roll-Up if given the chance. And don’t underestimate your child: You’d be surprised at the effect that positive peer pressure has on kids. They’re more likely to eat something new or different if they see their friends chowing down on it too. But if you’d prefer that your child have something else, give it to them in the car on the way home.

Why do we even need snacks?

We don’t. If all of the parents are in favor of eliminating snacks, let’s go for it. Less hassle for everyone.

Soccer Mom On A Mission Slideshow

View the slideshow on my blog here.

Or on YouTube here.

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Simple No Bake Cookie Balls

by Sally on August 24, 2012

When you’re hankering for something sweet–but don’t feel like turning on the oven or spending a bunch of time in the kitchen–I’ve got four words for you: No Bake Cookie Balls.

I already love these Peanut Butter Balls. But I recently discovered three delicious-looking cookie ball recipes from Snack Girl. So I made them all, one after the other. These are the perfect one-bite dessert or a fun lunchbox treat for your kids.

No Bake Brownie Balls

Amazingly fudgy and rich–with barely any added sugar unless you dredge them in powdered sugar like I did (Snack Girl dusts hers with a more reasonable amount). I must say, they’re delightful plain as well. And gluten free!

No Bake Lemon Balls

The sweetness of dates + the tang of lemon + the richness of almonds = cookie ball perfection (especially for lemon lovers like myself).

No Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Balls

Like wonderful little globs of raw cookie dough, without the pesky food poisoning risk. Frankly, I can’t be held responsible for what happens if I’m left alone in the house with these.

For more great recipes from Snack Girl, go here.

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Why Life Got Better When My Smartphone Died

August 16, 2012

If they gave out Oscars to mobile devices and there was a category for Best Dramatic Performance in a Death Scene by a Cell Phone, mine would win. One day in March, I was downloading an app for work. Suddenly, my phone began buzzing. And vibrating–so violently, it was skittering across the desk like a […]

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New Year, New Gear: My Lunchbox Gameplan

August 13, 2012

Anyone else geek out over lunch packing gear? I caught the bento bug two years ago (read Bento-a-Go-Go). I hope that someday I’ll have the energy to cut cucumbers into flowers and draw faces on tuna sandwiches. But in the meantime, I just like the fun and ease of divided containers. And I finally found […]

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Billboards That Scare Me

August 5, 2012

Sometimes food is so bad and wrong, it’s downright frightening (see Foods That Scare Me). Ditto for food marketing. In just a four-block radius of my house, these are the messages I’m given about what to eat: Do we really need to start drinking chocolate chips? I know it’s meant to be tongue-in-cheek. But 12 days of […]

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