Better Eating

Choose kids' sports meals wisely.

The foods and beverages available to youths when they participate in organized sports are often unhealthy.

Common foods at sports settings include candy, hot dogs, salty snacks, soda, and sports drinks. Parents also report visits to fast-food outlets on days that their kids take part in sports, relying on convenient foods as they juggle busy schedules of games and practice sessions. 

"The food environment in youth sport exposes kids and their families to many unhealthful foods and beverages and few healthful options," said Toben F. Nelson, ScD, of the university of Minnesota, the lead researcher in a new study. His team believes that youth sports programs offer a promising setting for promoting better nutrition. They recommend collaboration between sports leagues, dietitians, and public health professionals to create positive messages about nutrition that can be integrated into youth sports programs through coaches and other mentors. They also suggest that youth sports programs develop guidelines for which foods and beverages should be offered as snacks or sold at concession stands. 

Fruit makes a great snack during breaks from sports, particularly bananas, apples, grapes, pears, and oranges. Unsweetened green tea is a healthful and refreshing beverage for keeping kids hydrated. 


"Parents Say that Healthy Eating is Challenging for Youth Who Play Sports,"  Elsevier Health Sciences, 6/19/12

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