When you start trying to eliminate refined flours & sugars and then nitrates & nitrites, you’ll probably realize that finding appropriate snack foods gets a little harder. Almost all the easy, go-to prepackaged snacks are off the table. Even most “healthy options” aren’t as healthy as they propose to be. But your young athlete needs snacks to give their body energy! As long as you’re prepared, you can have appropriate snacks ready for when your child is at home or on the go. In this post, we’ll start with some nutrient and protein-rich snacks that are easiest to stock in your own kitchen.
Making Fruit Accessible
It may seem simple, but making sure you have fruit in the house isn’t quite the same as making it easily accessible. Carve out some time to rinse, chop, and portion it out, so it’s easy to grab when your child feels the need for a snack. And be sure to mix it up a bit, not only incorporating seasonal selections, but also providing your child with a variety of nutrients (see this helpful chart). It also is best to have some fruits visually accessible, but you need to know what the best storage methods are for each type of fruit.
If you feel the need to add some protein-rich dips, consider adding small containers of Greek yogurt or almond butter to the snack shelf or drawer. For fruits like apples that oxidize easily, you might want to keep a cutting board and slicing tool handy — perhaps in the same basket where apples are usually stored.
Using Your Freezer Wisely
Especially during summer months, frozen treats provide much-needed relief from the heat. Particularly when your child has been working hard at the gym or the pool, the appeal of a popsicle or ice cream may seem irresistible. But did you know that ice cream requires far more sugar than room temperature desserts in order to taste sweet? You can skip the extra sugar (not to mention dyes and other unnatural additives) by making your own frozen goodies. Don’t worry: it’s really not that hard. For an ice cream replacement, you can throw ripe bananas in the freezer (or purchase them for cheaper than usual at some grocery stores) and then use an immersion blender to whip the frozen fruit into a cold, healthy treat. For extra flavor, consider adding other frozen fruits or coconut milk.
After freezing the mixture, you will probably need to thaw it a little in the microwave, so it might be best to store it in serving-sized containers with lids. As an alternative, you could use popsicle forms or these push-pop shooters at Amazon.
To make homemade freeze pops or yogurt tubes, simply add some pureed fruit and/or fruit juice to filtered water, and funnel it into zip-top sleeves like these. To read more about protein-rich snacks for your young athlete, check out our next post.