It’s official! I am a soccer mom. I even have the mini van to match up to the reputation. My 5-year-old son is two weeks into his first soccer season. He practices one hour a week, and has one game each Saturday now until November. My husband has been taking him to practice, so I was unaware of snacks or a snack schedule until the first game.
This is what my son received after his first hour-long soccer game. He didn’t play the entire time. I estimated he burned somewhere between 110-150 calories playing for about 40 minutes. Being the dietitian and fitness person that I am, these snacks just didn’t make my cut. It also left me wondering why on earth would you shovel so many calories and carbs into one little kid for 40 minutes or less of physical activity. If this is what most parents are giving their kids after short-term physical activity, no wonder childhood obesity is at an all time high.
Chips Ahoy – 4 pack cookies
9 grams fat
27 grams carbohydrate
Nature Valley Granola Bars
7 grams of fat
29 grams of carbohydrate
Fruit Roll Ups
1 gram of fat
12 grams of carbohydrate
0 grams of fat
7 grams of carbohydrate
Soccer Snack Totals: 460 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 75 grams of carbohydrate.
Does anyone else think something is wrong here? My kid expended less than 200 calories. Do the math. This is more than they need at a meal. Grown men sometimes eat 75 grams of carb at a meal, not kids. My pancreas hurts just telling you about this. Soccer fields should be a place where we encourage healthy habits. Think of it this way: If you had a car that called for high-octane fuel only, would you put the low-grade stuff in if you knew it would ruin the engine? If this is a standard snack, your kids are being fueled on red dye 40, blue 1, yellows 5 &6, partially hydrogenated oils,and sugar (lots of it). Fruit contains fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that contribute to health. 1 piece is around 60-80 calories. Water has no calories and every cell in your body wants and needs it. Fruit and water are cheaper too! If you compare the soccer snack we received to fruit and water, I pick fruit and water. Highly processed foods have no place on a soccer field.
I recently started following Real Mom’s Nutrition blog. Sally Kuzemchak is a fellow Registered Dietitian and soccer mom. She developed the Soccer Snacktivism Handbook for parents to use to encourage better snacks at soccer games. Please watch her video and download the parent letter to be the change for your team.
I wanted to complement Sally’s Handbook with an easy, no brainer shopping list for moms and dads to use. Take this and the letter to your next team practice. This isn’t to condemn parents for giving kids snacks after a game. I just think parents have gotten used to giving treats. With childhood obesity at an all time high, we need to be mindful of what we give our kids. They will get plenty of treats. They don’t need 500 calories of treats after expending less than 200 calories. We have a real chance as parents to impact the health of our kids and their future. They may not like the fruit at first, but they may eventually cave to peer pressure. If they don’t have a snack, they can survive to the next meal.
Soccer Mom’s Team Snack Shopping List
Oranges, cut into wedges
Watermelon, cut up
Raisins or Dried Fruit
Any other fresh fruit that is easy for kids to handle
*Featured image via bigstockphoto