Healthy Snacks for Kids

During spring break my family spent some time at the Bollettieri Tennis Academy at the IMG Performance Institute. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. my boys did warm ups, drills, and match play in the hot Florida sun. As my kids aren’t used to the extreme heat, sun, and exercise,  I asked Dr. Sally Parsonage, head of nutrition at the institute, what tips she could give us for healthy snacks and keeping the boys at peak performance:

1) Hydrate properly: Instead of drinking water, refuel with a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade. If you’re exercising for hours and just drinking water, you are diluting your body fluids and not replacing your electrolyte balance. So, I mixed the kids’ water with a healthy dose of a sports drinks and then served them up at a big glass of pure Gatorade at the end of every day.

2) Eat a diet rich in complex carbs: Pasta, rice, bread and other carbs should make up roughly half of your kid’s daily intake when he or she is exercising a lot because carbs constantly refuel the body. The remainder of the diet should be protein and lots of fibrous, vitamin-rich produce.

3) Have three meals a day plus snacks: Parsonage recommends eating meals two hours before a big day of playing sports and then topping it up with snacks 20 minutes before actual play.

4) Only eat healthy snacks. Bananas, granola bars, an apple, these are perfect snacks for kids to eat during their day of sports. Sugary snacks will only spike their blood sugar up and then bring it rocketing back down, resulting in fatigue and loss of focus.


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13 Responses to “Healthy Snacks for Kids”

  1. 1 Erica April 10, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Great tips my daughter just spent the week at soccer camp and some of this stuff I didn’t even think about. :)

  2. 2 taylor April 18, 2010 at 2:13 am

    Thanks for the good tips on keeping our kids healthy. I wondered if you could have given the kids Smartwater, or another electrolyte enhanced water, instead of the Gatorade. That way you could keep up the electrolytes without the added sugar.

    • 3 tanyatracey April 18, 2010 at 1:30 pm

      That’s a good question. I thought Smartwater was vitamin-enhanced so will look into that and see if it’s a good alternative. Thanks!!

    • 4 tanyatracey April 18, 2010 at 1:30 pm

      That’s a good question. I thought Smartwater was vitamin-enhanced so will look into that and see if it’s a good alternative. Thanks!!

  3. 5 InterActive Health June 25, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    So often speed and convience dictate how and what we feed our children. But we are seeing more health related consequences because of it Good content on snack foods – we are fortunate that our children love apples and bananas. But of course they love candy as well. It is always a battle.

    Check out the following: 10 Disastrous Foods for Children

  4. 6 SL July 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Speaking of snacks, this reminded me of a contest I just entered.
    Kozy Shack Pudding is offering the chance to win up to $1,000,000 in a Photo Contest! Visit to learn more. But hurry, contest ends July 15!

  5. 8 concernedmom September 13, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I would love to make the extreme granola that is in the book but don’t want to add a stick of butter — any thoughts as to what could be substituted for the butter? thanks!

    • 9 tanyatracey September 13, 2010 at 2:31 pm

      Hi Amacht. It works out to about 1/2 tablespoon of butter per serving (1/2 cup) but if you’re worried about high cholesterol, you can use Smart Balance margarine.

  6. 10 Vivek Srivastava December 30, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Thanks for the share. I have a similar post on the same lines at Lime Bucket. Please leave your comment.

  7. 11 December 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Fantastic post however , I was wondering
    if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Bless you!

  8. 12 JeanC March 18, 2013 at 4:02 am

    Good tips, especially about the hydration. Apple paired with cheese is one of my favorite snacks, and easy to bring along just about anywhere.

  9. 13 Joan April 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    It’s an awesome piece of writing in favor of all the online viewers; they will get benefit from it I am sure.

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