What snack, when?

Kids need fuel. We've got healthy kids' snack ideas they'll love.

By Yuki Hayashi

What snack, when?
Active children need high-octane fuel. Power your kids with a balanced diet that adheres to Canada’s Food Guide recommendations. And when it comes to pre- and post-training snacks, rely on the one-two punch of complex carbs and protein, to rev up your kids for sports and help them reload afterward.

"A good guideline is carbs going into a workout, protein afterward for recovery. Obviously, no snack is all carbohydrate or all protein," but Theresa Albert, a Toronto-based registered nutritionist, says you can tailor each snack to provide nutrients as required.  

These 30 great snacks keep hunger at bay and maintain energy for peak performance.

PRE-WORKOUT FUEL:

When:
No later than one hour before the workout, providing enough time to digest and avoid upset stomach.

Why: A carb-heavy pre-sport snack fuels muscles during a workout. "Don’t think about calories—that kind of thinking leads straight to white flour and little cookie packets," says Albert. Wholesome, complex carbs in a modest quantity won’t leave your kid feeling too full.

What:
Here are some smart options:
• A yogurt tube and handful of cereal
• A handful of (unsweetened) dried fruit and nuts
• Trail mix (no chocolate chips)
• Veggies and hummus
• A peanut butter and jam sandwich
• Milk and raisins
• Oatmeal and sliced fruit or berries
• A smoothie: water, juice, banana or berries
• Banana (add a smear of peanut butter, if desired)
• Fig bars
• Baby potatoes with sea salt
• Popcorn and nuts
• A bagel (or half bagel) with peanut butter
• Pretzels and baby carrots
• Canned fruit in juice (not sugar syrup)
• Apple slices with almond butter

POST-WORKOUT RECOVERY
When: Within 30 minutes post-workout, to replenish energy stores and start rebuilding muscle.

Why: After a tough workout, emphasize protein, which the body uses to rebuild muscle tissue. If a post-workout meal is immediately available, a snack might not be needed, although a glass of milk (plain or chocolate) is a good way to tide kids over till they sit down to eat.  

What:
Here are some tasty options:
• Cheese strings and fruit slices
• Peanut butter on a rice cake, with a banana
• A tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread
• A turkey roll-up (sliced cheese and apple rolled in deli turkey slices)
• Multigrain melba toast with cream cheese
• A smoothie: coconut water or low-fat milk, ice, banana
• Greek yogurt with berries
• Drinkable yogurt with orange slices
• Whole wheat English muffin with hummus and sliced turkey or chicken
• A hard-cooked egg and apple
• Edamame with sea salt
• Nuts and popcorn
• Low-fat chocolate milk
• Low-fat plain milk
• Breadsticks with bean dip
• Whole wheat pita chips with hummus

TIP: Many snacks can double as pre- and post-workout snacks, if your kid doesn’t mind.

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