sports

Soccer Mom On A Mission…Watch It!

by Sally on 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 a few computer glitches, the slideshow is back! It’s new and improved–and on YouTube.

Watch. Share. Get resources you can use, like sample coach and team emails, in my Sports Snacktivism Handbook.

Make change happen for your child’s team!

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Snacktivism: An Interview with Sally Kuzemchak from Real Mom Nutrition

A few years ago, I got fed up with the Kool-Aid and cupcakes my son was getting after soccer games and vowed to make a change. I began talking to coaches and parents about providing fruit for post-game snacks instead–or even nixing snacks altogether (read: “What If Soccer Snacks Just Went Away?“). One day, a friend jokingly referred to me a “snacktivist”. That’s when Snacktivism was born. What do Snacktivists do? They help counter the current culture of snacking by providing healthier options at sports, after-school activities, church, camp, and anywhere kids eat. Snacktivism is also about asking the simple question: Do the kids even need a snack?

Recently,  I had the pleasure of being interviewed about Snacktivism by Mia Moran for StayBasic digital magazine. Here’s an excerpt about my experience with sports teams:

Mia: How did you approach coaches and parents? Was there any resistance from them, or from the kids?

Sally: A few years ago, I emailed the boys’ soccer coach and suggested we switch to water and fresh fruit, defining exactly what I meant by “fruit”, so parents wouldn’t bring things like gummy fruit snacks or yogurt-covered raisins, which are high in sugar and additives. I made a case for fresh fruit – it’s cheaper, it’s better for our environment, and it’s better for our kids – and I was pleasantly surprised that everyone agreed. Now when I approach coaches I say, why don’t we eliminate the snack altogether? I don’t think kids need a snack right after activities, if they live close enough that in just minutes they will home, and it takes an item off the parents’ to-do list. But kids like to hang around after the game a bit, sharing a snack together, and that’s fine. I approached different sports leagues to change to fruit and water only, but they didn’t want to dictate what parents could bring, so I approached the teams directly instead, and healthier snacking has been catching on. I even heard from people in my community that they’re seeing a lot more fresh fruit on the field these days.

I did get a little bit of resistance. Some people say, “it’s only once a week, a donut won’t hurt.” But if your children are involved in multiple activities, it’s more than once a week. And you also can’t always control how much your kid is eating – did he have one donut or three? I don’t get pushback from the kids, but sometimes I get it from the parents. When I was growing up playing sports, we didn’t even have snacks! Maybe we had orange slices at halftime. It’s the parents who invented this culture of the sports snack. And of course kids love it, because who wouldn’t want to eat Chee-tos or get a goody bag of candy? We can’t expect kids to say, “No thank you on the candy, I’m going to go home and eat a healthy dinner.” But kids love fruit as a snack, and people are on board with making better choices for kids, so overall the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

You can read the rest of the interview–as well as the whole issue–at StayBasic (use your email address to sign up and you’ll get a PDF of the issue).

A little bit about Stay Basic: After being diagnosed with a gluten intolerance four years ago, Mia started a blog about changing her diet, feeding her family, and losing the 65 pounds she’d gained over the course of three pregnancies. Two years ago, she launched the StayBasic digital magazine, which she produces out of her home with a small support staff. “I really liked the idea of creating something beautiful and inspirational for moms wanting to up the health in their family,” she says. “It also gives moms something they can print or save and reference digitally, without having to search too hard.”

I hope you’ll check out StayBasic–and if you’re doing work as a Snacktivist in your community, I hope you’ll tell me about it!

Stay Basic Magazine

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What Are The Olympics Teaching Your Kids About Food?

February 11, 2014

“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

January 22, 2014

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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When Soccer Snacks Get Personal

October 23, 2013

I’ve long known there are parents in my community who aren’t on board with my soccer snack mission. That’s okay. The response has been overwhelmingly positive from coaches and parents. And I know that in order to make change happen–to shift the culture and the thinking surrounding soccer snacks–there will be people who don’t agree, […]

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The End of Soccer Snacks?

September 17, 2013

More than two years ago, I finally gave voice to my feelings about soccer snacks–specifically, irritation that my kid was getting cookies and donuts and fruit punch and cupcakes after trotting around on a field for 20 minutes (read: “Soccer Mom Soapbox“). I vowed to speak up and change things. And since then, I’ve helped […]

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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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Why Are We Afraid Of Telling Parents What To Do?

April 13, 2013

Lately I’ve gotten a lot of success stories from parents who have joined the ranks of “That Mom”. They’ve spoken up and changed the snack culture in their child’s class or sports team (read “Change the Snack Culture: 3 Steps to Take Now” and  ”Be Bold. Take Action. Make Change.“). But occasionally, I hear from […]

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Soccer Season is Here. Are You Ready, Snacktivists?

March 15, 2013

Right now, in many communities around the country, kids are trying on cleats and shin guards and parents are busting out camp chairs and coolers from storage. Soccer season is upon us. And so are soccer snacks. If you’re fed up with soccer snacks (or baseball, swimming , or basketball snacks), if you’re done with frosted […]

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What If Soccer Snacks Just Went Away?

September 18, 2012

I may be Mom on a Mission. Even Soccer Mom Gone Wild. But I am not Orange Slice Mom. In a hilarious piece on the Huffington Post, mom and senior writer Ann Brenoff says she’s tired of the tryannical Orange Slice Moms and their demands for certified organic fruit and gluten-free snacks bars. She writes: […]

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