Like many of you, I just signed my son up for spring recreational league soccer. After bouncing around between Taekwondo, swimming, YMCA basketball, and soccer, we settled on soccer as our sport to focus on for right now. We love the team aspect of it, I love that the season is short and the coaches in this league are honestly amazing.
I also love that I played soccer so I can actually practice with him while being moderately competent 😉
But oh, man, the soccer snacks… they’re kind of out of control. Can we make healthy soccer snacks? Or maybe even do away with soccer snacks altogether?
Let’s tone down the soccer snacks
In this age of Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram it’s easy to get sucked into thinking that every mom has endless amounts of creativity, energy, and every kid deserves a neon-colored whipped sugar on a regular basis.
Childhood is fun! I want to be the cool mom!
But this age also is full of food allergies, hyperactivity, sensitivities, and parents feeling conflicted between health and fun. So can we tone it down a bit?
I know- they’re your kids. You enjoy doing this kind of stuff. Your kids love it.
… And some kids may only be playing soccer because they like the snacks
Fun food the way you express your creativity. And know what? At your child’s birthday party, at your holiday cookie decorating party, and on your Facebook page I’m really excited to see all that creativity- I think you’re amazing.
I enjoy doing more elaborate and creative food with my kids too- and if I have a fun food that I’m wanting to serve to friends, I clear it with their parents first if it’s full of sugar or other less-than-ideal ingredients. If they don’t give the okay, I do the project when it’s just us.
Soccer Snacks do not need to be a big deal.
Actually, I know this isn’t a big deal because our local soccer team does a GREAT job only providing healthy snacks- many of which are on the list below. The focus is on being outside, sportsmanship, getting energy out, and enjoying our teammates while we learn a fun sport.
However, I am lucky to live in a very crunchy neighborhood. I see from the sidelines what other teams bring as snacks, and I also see some of the other parents cringing inside with a plastered on smile and a ‘oh wow! Look at those cupcakes!’ at the game that ends right before lunchtime.
Yes, I do need to teach my own children our health values
And I’m teaching them that there are some things that are sold in grocery stores that cause cancer, are addictive, and are contributing to the rise in childhood-onset type II diabetes, obesity, and lifelong chronic health problems for everyone.
I’m even teaching them that different families have different priorities, and it’s important not to act like we are doing anything better than anyone else.
This gets a little confusing for everyone involved when children are handed bright sugary treats right and left, especially at something that is supposed to be a healthy activity.
Those who want to limit it to a special occasion because their children’s health are affected by it struggle with junk food being so much a part of the weekend soccer culture.
And it’s hard to keep my kids from feeling bad when I have carrot sticks and I’m not letting them eat the cupcake that you just handed them. But my kids just can’t handle it.
That are also allergy friendly soccer snack ideas
- Orange Wedges (the classic!)
- Watermelon Wedges (seedless… because we all know what happens when we give little kids watermelon seeds to spit 😉 )
- Grapes, berries, or apple slices.
- String Cheese (I know, not super allergy friendly, but it’s easier to convince a dairy-allergic child to trade string cheese than a cupcake piled high with sprinkles and frosting)
- Homemade popcorn (See notes with #4)
- Sunflower Seeds
- Snap Peas, carrot sticks, or cucumber slices
- 100% Fruit Leather
- Applesauce Squeezies
- Bottled Water or 100% Fruit Juice