What snack, when?

What snack, when?

Author: Canadian Living


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.


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.

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

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.  

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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What snack, when?