soft drinks; pop; sports drinks

20 Healthy Team Snacks for Kids

by Sally on September 9, 2014

20 Fruit & Veggie Team Snacks

Leaves are falling. Soccer balls are flying. Naturally, my thoughts turn to healthy team snacks.

Since I first voiced my frustration over junky soccer snacks a few years ago (read Soccer Mom Soapbox), I’ve advocated for fruit-and-water team snacks. I’ve also made the case for simply eliminating the team snack altogether (read The End of Soccer Snacks?). Young children playing an hour or less of soccer aren’t typically exerting themselves to a degree that warrants much of a snack, much less a sports drink (or a large frosted cupcake). Most of them are better off going home for a healthy lunch or dinner.

But some coaches and parents like gathering for a post-game team snack. In that case, fruit is a perfect solution. It’s refreshing, easy, and usually safe for children with food allergies. And many children don’t get enough fruit anyway. So if you’d like to bring fruit (or even veggies) to games and are looking for ideas, I’ve got some!

It’s true that junky snacks seem easy: Just pop into the store and grab a pack of snack-size cookies, a few boxes of gummy fruit snacks, or a couple dozen donuts or cupcakes. But fruit and veggie team snacks can be just as simple (and fun).

Here are 20 ideas to get you started:

Whole Fruit:

  • Bananas (budget friendly!)
  • Apples
  • Clementines (easy for little hands to peel)
  • Pears
  • Peaches or nectarines
  • Plums

Cut Fruit:

Fruits & Veggies To Go:

  • Paper cups of berries
  • Individual bags of baby carrots (look for these in the store by the regular carrots)
  • Baggies of sliced peppers and celery sticks
  • Snack-size baggies of melon
  • Small paper bags of grapes
  • Paper cup or baggie of cherries
  • Small boxes of raisins
  • Prepackaged blueberries
  • Cups of sugar snap peas (nice and sweet!)
  • Cups of pineapple chunks

Get a free printable version of this list: 20 Healthy Team Snacks from Real Mom Nutrition.

If you’d like help organizing healthier snacks for your child’s team, consider using the resources in my Sports Snacktivism Handbook. It includes sample coach and team emails, an FAQ, this snack list, and a slideshow.

20 Fruit & Veggie Team Snacks by Real Mom Nutrition

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The Real Reason for Soccer Snacks on Steroids?

Remember when soccer snacks were simple orange slices on the sidelines?

Someone’s mom brought a Tupperware container full of them for halftime. You sucked out the juice or peeled the fruit from the rind while getting a pep talk from your coach, then ran back onto the field.

Flash forward a few decades and orange slices have been replaced with Ritz Bits and Goldfish crackers, with bakery donuts and large frosted cupcakes, with goodie bags full of candy washed down with pouches of Capri Sun or bottles of sports drinks. (Read: “Soccer Mom Soapbox“)

This Soccer Snack on Steroids is a relatively recent concept. So how did we get here? How did we go from fresh orange slices for halftime hydration to Krispy Kremes just for showing up?

I was chatting with a friend of mine about this, and she had a theory I found intriguing: Today’s kids are starting organized sports at a much younger age than they used to. In my community, a child can start pee-wee soccer at age 4. Some of these kids are raring to go, jogging up and down the field like a boss. But others aren’t so sure. Their parents are poised with the shin guards, camp chairs, and zoom lenses. But the kids would rather stay home. They need a little convincing.

They need a bribe.

More than a few parents have told me that the junky snack is their child’s favorite part of playing sports. And one of the main arguments I’ve heard against fruit as a soccer snack is that the kids should be rewarded with something “fun” for playing. So are we afraid that without the junk, our kids won’t actually want to play sports?

Is it possible we’re feeding our children junk food in order to entice them to be active?

And if so, isn’t that a little nuts?

To mobilize change in your community, check out the free resources in my Sports Snacktivism Handbook.

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Soccer Mom On A Mission…Watch It!

March 13, 2014

Two years ago, I tromped around the soccer fields in my community, snapping photos of the snacks I was seeing. I set the photos to music and turned them into a video slideshow called “Soccer Mom On A Mission”, with the hopes of raising awareness and mobilizing a new wave of Snacktivists to create change. After […]

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“McDonald’s is, like, the official restaurant of everything.” That’s what my nine year old said to me as we were watching the Olympics the other night. That’s because every 10 minutes that McDonald’s commercial was on the screen. You know which one I’m talking about: the split-screen showing an Olympian biting their gold medal on […]

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Why I’m No Fan of Sports Drinks

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The longer I am a parent, the more irritated I become about sports drinks. I am irritated that million-dollar marketing tactics are used to woo children with star athletes, logos splashed all over televised sporting events, and online comics and games. It’s wrong. How wrong? Last year, Gatorade actually developed a video game in which the player maneuvers […]

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Ambushed by Big Soda on the Soccer Field

April 19, 2013

Something happened on the soccer fields last weekend that made cupcakes seem tame by comparison: A rep from 7 Up worked the crowd, offering free diet soda to parents and kids. When I found out about this through some friends–and confirmed it with a call to our rec center–I felt my blood pressure rise about […]

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Sports Snacktivism Handbook

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 five resources for you to use A sample coach letter A sample team letter FAQ to answer questions from coaches or parents A printable PDF list of 20 fruit […]

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On the Front Lines of Snack-tivism

July 25, 2012

My son’s day camp at the local university had everything going for it: Flexible drop-off for working parents, after-care swim lessons, a full day of sports and activities that made bedtime blessedly early. But alas: The snacks. The first day, the campers were given Fruit Roll-Ups and Powerade. The next, it was Cinnamon Toast Crunch […]

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Soccer Mom on a Mission: The Music Video!

March 5, 2012

By now, most of you know that I get a little feisty about soccer snacks. And t-ball snacks. (Read “Soccer Mom Soapbox” and “That Mom: The Sequel“). I know a lot you feel the same way. (Though some of you don’t.) Last fall, I decided to start documenting the snacks I was seeing on the sidelines of […]

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