After-school sport, whether in a team or as an individual pursuit, is a good chance for children to burn off extra energy that’s built up while they’re sitting in the classroom. Of course – as with anything children do – it’s usually high intensity, so it needs to be treated as such.
Children need to refuel with the correct food after expelling so much energy, and we’re not talking about a lolly or ice cream on the way home. The best thing to offer is a nutritious snack brought from home.
Glycogen is a glucose in the body that serves as a form of energy storage, and the 30 minutes directly after exercise is when glycogen levens are low. It is in this time bracket that our bodies are most receptive to refuelling.
This goes for children and adults alike, so if you’ve been chasing your child around the field then make sure you both recover with some high carbohydrate snacks. Protein is good for muscle repair and drinking plenty of water will ensure dehydration is not an issue either. Despite what some *ahem* sports teams may say, sports drinks can be full of sugar and are not recommended for children – they can be as bad as drinking a soft drink! Protein drinks can also be too much for their young systems to handle, so remember to keep it as natural as possible. Water works best.
Some ideas for pre or post sport snacks
+ Low sugar homemade muesli bars
+ Low fat fruit smoothies
+ Fruit – cut up oranges, bananas, watermelon, grapes, etc.
+ Crackers, rice cakes – spread with honey or peanut butter
+ Nuts and dried fruit
+ Cheese sticks
+ Toasted vegemite sandwich
There’s no need for a big snack if you’re heading straight home for dinner, just try a piece of fruit to keep them ticking along until dinner is served.
Yes, it can be nice to give something sweet as an after activity treat, but this could lead to them expecting it EVERY time they do the activity and can lead to unhealthy food associations.