Written by: Morgan Lennon
For busy parents, finding nutritious and convenient snacks that your child will eat can be a challenge. While we are flooded with images of Pinterest perfect parents on social media, who make their own organic soy butter or chop fresh salads with ingredients from their home garden, for most parents this is an entirely unattainable goal (#worldsokayestmom). Whether or not your child is in a “I only eat white foods” or “all cheese all the time” phase, getting your child the proper nutrients can be a struggle. If your child is an athlete, nutrition is even more vital.
Here are 5 yummy (and kid approved) super foods that will support your athletes nutrition, along with some easy to follow recipes that will make pre or post workout snacks a breeze:
This breakfast staple is loaded with nutrients and is a great pre-practice snack. The complex carbohydrates in oats allows for slower digestion, stabilizes blood sugar, and provides a sustained source of energy. Oats are also rich in anti-oxidants and full of vitamins, such as: magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, folate, copper, and B-1 and B-5. In addition, avenanthramides, a type of antioxidant that exists almost exclusively in oats, has been shown to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation.
Here's a great snack recipe that uses oats:
This amazing vegetable has emerged from its marshmallow covered Thanksgiving roots and onto weeknight dinner plates. And we are so glad they did! Sweet potatoes offer a great nutritional profile for young athletes. They're high in magnesium and potassium (which helps prevent muscle cramps and spasms, and assists in post work-out muscle recovery) and they're full of Vitamin-C (which not only boosts your immune system, but is crucial in the development of strong bones and teeth) With the lowest glycemic index of any root vegetable, they also offer a great source of sustained energy to get your child through a grueling practice.
Here's a great snack recipe that uses sweet potatoes:
We are bananas over bananas (Terrible pun. Who’s writing this Coach Joe?) This versatile fruit is a great post practice recovery food. With a quick jolt of natural sugar and packed with potassium, bananas can help soothe tired muscles and prevent cramping. Studies have shown that foods high in potassium help to maintain healthy a heart and blood pressure. Not only are bananas packed with vitamins, but they also contain prebiotic fibers, which allows for easier absorption of nutrients in other foods.
Here's a great snack recipe that uses bananas:
Not only do berries taste delicious, but they are chock full of antioxidants and vitamins. Antioxidants help with cellular regeneration, healing muscular tissue, and aiding in recovery after exercise.
Endurance athletes have had a long love affair with cherries because of their significant health benefits. Cherries have been shown to fight inflammation, boost immunity, and can lead to more restful sleep.
Here's a great snack recipe that uses berries:
Growing up with an avocado tree in our front yard, has made me partial to this savory fruit. It may be trendy, but this super food lives up to the hype. It is packed with carotenoids, folate, and vitamins K, B5, B6, and C. This healthy fat is packed with oleic acid, which lowers inflammation and surprisingly, avocados have even more potassium than bananas, which makes them a great food for muscle recovery.
Here's a great snack recipe that uses avocados: