When you’re trying to avoid unhealthy additives for your young athlete, finding snack options can be a challenge. And we all know that simply saying, “Grab an apple,” can easily get old. Well, in addition to ideas on how to make a variety of fruits accessible, we have some other ideas for easy-to-prepare, healthy snacks for you to consider. The ones we’re discussing here are particularly protein rich.
Preparing Grab-and-Go Meat Balls and Sticks
Meat is an obvious choice for protein, but you probably noticed in our recent post about nitrates and nitrites, that most processed meats are far from ideal. (Some also contain sugars, too!) You can easily cook up batches of finger-friendly meat that can be served cold, and freeze it in snack-sized portions. For instance, these “burger bites” (basically paleo meatballs) taste good cold. And chicken breasts or turkey steaks can be baked for about 20 minutes and then sliced to resemble either cold cuts or “chicken fries.” Simply put a few ounces worth in a snack-sized zip-top baggie or container and keep them in the fridge. (If you’d prefer to make a larger batch than what will be eaten within the week, you can put snack-sized portions in a larger freezer bag and freeze them for later use.)
Maximizing Inexpensive Proteins by Preparing Eggs
Eggs are about the most budget-friendly protein there is! Be sure to keep a few hard-boiled, peeled eggs handy at all times. But that’s bound to get a little old. So another way you can prep eggs ahead for a quick snack is to cook them in muffin tins, using cupcake liners. Add in any sausage or veggies your child likes — and maybe even a dash of seasoning, sprinkle of cheese, and a splash of milk – and bake them until they’re no longer runny… voila! Egg bites. These are probably best warmed up in the microwave, but they can be eaten cold, as well.
Pre-packaging Nut Butters for Easy Access
Of course, most of us think of peanut butter first, when it comes to nut butters. But like all legumes, peanuts can cause inflammation, making peanuts something that might not be the best option when it comes to fueling the bodies of young athletes. In addition, most peanut butter also includes sugar. So ideally, you should choose alternatives such as almond or cashew butter, but be aware that it will cost more and will need to be refrigerated. To avoid waste or overuse, you can package it in lidded condiment cups like these at Amazon.
While any of these protein-rich snacks could be taken on the go, they do require refrigeration. A small cooler bag with an ice pack can be a handy addition to your young athlete’s bag, and a frozen water bottle can double as extra hydration for after practice. For snacks that don’t require keeping cold, check out our post about healthy on-the-go snacks.