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.