Picnic Packing for Spring Sports
If your children are active in springtime sports, you may be spending a good deal of your life these days at the softball/baseball field, track meet or soccer tournament. Eating healthy can be a real challenge, particularly if you rely on the soda pop, candy and hot dog fare that is sold at the typical concession stand.
With a bit of planning, you can improve the nutrition for your young athlete while saving time and money. Sharpen your child’s nutrition and organization skills by enlisting his/her help in the preparation and packing.
What to Pack
Below are a few ideas of what to pack. Make sure to include something from every food group listed. There is additional space for you to fill in your favorites/necessities from each category.
Ideas for "Fuel to go"
Beverages: water bottles, 100% fruit juice boxes, sports drinks
Note: I usually limit the sports beverages to one bottle/child; water is still the best "sports drink."
Grains: whole grain crackers (e.g. Wheat Thins, Wheatables), sandwichesmade with 100% whole wheat bread, baked corn tortilla chips
Fruits: dried apple rings, raisins, orange wedges, grapes
Vegetables: baby carrots, celery sticks, grape or cherry tomatoes
Protein: peanut butter, hummus, lean deli meats, tuna, soy nuts
Dairy: string cheese (part-skim mozzarella), yogurt, pudding cups
Other Items: Plates, napkins, spoons, hand sanitizer, refreezable ice packs, sun screen, bandages and other first aid items you may need
Just like when you pack groceries, be sure to put the more durable items such as water bottles on the bottom and the more fragile items such as fruits and vegetables on the top of the cooler (another advantage: kids will see the fruits and veggies first when opening the cooler).
Tip: Save your back by packing all perishables in an easy-to-tote soft-sided cooler. Put the nonperishable items in a separate gym or tote bag.
Keeping Food Safe
Be sure to place refreezable ice packs in your cooler and make sure you enforce hand washing before your hungry young athletes begin eating.
How can sitting in front of a computer possibly get kids moving? Just make sure they are logged on to kidnetic.com! This site features several wacky games and even gets kids moving while they are at the computer (see the "Time Challenge" games). Highlights include a section for kids to submit their own games, a recipe link and "InnerG," an interactive body which illustrates the role nutrition plays in the health of various body parts.