This post is by blog team member, Kiran. To learn more about Kiran, check out our team page!
Last year I wrote a post on snacks that kids receive in recreational sports. Specifically, I was referring to my 7 year-old’s soccer team where she “played” for 45 minutes and then was given junk food to “recover.” I honestly had no idea what a positive (thank goodness!) reaction would come of it. I was overjoyed to hear how many people were on board with the notion that kids who are playing rec sports needn’t be given a cookie and a Capri-Sun after each game.
On that same topic, I did have a couple of comments from parents who felt that it came down to cost – specifically that it’s cheaper to purchase the bags of Cheetos or Doritos than to do my suggested “real food” snacks. So I want to debunk that theory. But before I do – I want to mention that this not only relates to recreational sports … one other area that has always been an object of irritation to me is at preschool. Similarly, they are feeding the masses, and I’m guessing that the administration assumes that it’s more cost-effective to buy the huge container of cheese balls to serve to the kiddos.
So I went to Wal-Mart. While I personally don’t shop for food there on a regular basis, I feel that this is a very reasonable store (cost-wise) that is fairly accessible to many people and therefore a good choice for this exercise. Since I had a tough time finding organic, I went with the best options that I could find. I needn’t say more; I believe that my numbers below support my message.
I also want to mention another great tie-in that can definitely up the “cuteness” factor of these snacks, but more so, offer inspirational messages for teams and sports. You often see these Lunchbox Love cards used in Lisa’s school lunch photos (and are actually one of our favorite lunchbox items for my kids, as well!).
These would be really cute to staple on to the bags of popcorn or to simply hand out to the team players. And since Lunchbox Love is one of our partners they are offering our readers (you!) 20% off of all purchases with the “100days” code.
And now without further adieu, I present the snack list!
Option 1: Popcorn (Large Container vs. Mini-Bags)
You may be thinking that the mini bags of popcorn are a good option to go with, but did you know that it’s just as easy to pop your own kernels using the popcorn trick? I compared a box of 10 bags with a large jar of kernels plus the plain brown bags. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also avoid Refined Oil, Artificial Flavor, Added Color, and TBHQ.
Option 2: Trail Mix vs. Raisins
There are so many issues to address here … so let me first start with the notion that you may assume that trail mix, including a mixture of nuts (good for protein, right?), raisins and the oh-so-colorfully attractive bits of candy look good. Was it the sweet or salty that sold you? But get over that initial impression, because oh-my-goodness look at this ingredient list! Save yourself (and your kiddos) from the soy (that’s likely GMO), the refined oil and the food dyes, which you know we are not fans of. A simple box of raisins is just as easy to hand out. Oh, and I know we have some parents of kids with nut allergies who are giving me a huge (virtual) high-five right now, too!
Option 3: Cheese Sticks vs. Chips
Alrighty … next up is a huge pet peeve of mine. What gives with the bags of chips? I mean, didn’t your kid just hit the baseball field to get a healthy dose of some outdoor fun and exercise? And now we’re handing him and his teammates bags of chips? Grrr. Instead of a cheesy bag of chips, how about a cheesestick to go along with a cup of fresh water? I’m not even gonna go there with all of the ingredients (ahem, Maltodextrin, Corn Syrup Solids, Sugar, MSG, Food Dyes, and so many more) that you can avoid. And just check out which one is cheaper…
Option 4: Mini-Donuts vs. Mini-Apples
I know you’re thinking – how do donuts compare to apples? And you’re right. Aside from both being cute and little and round, they don’t have much in common. Which is the point. This is one where the cost is slightly higher for the real food option. But for the 8 cents per apple, you are saving your kiddos from highly processed ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin, dextrose, and numerous preservatives. Need I say more?
Option 5: Gatorade vs. Water
This last one is such a small yet impactful change you can make. Please … whether your child is playing sports, or she’s trying to concentrate in school – just simple water is best. Ideally it’s in a reusable bottle, but I understand that these minis are convenient. These pictured G2’s contain Sucrose, Dextrose, Monopotassium Phosphate, Glycerol Ester of Rosin and Blue 1. Save your child from these highly processed ingredients – and save some money, too!!
My Thoughts on Snacks Overall
If you read my earlier post on snacks, know I still stand my ground. I don’t believe that in recreational sports there needs to be a snack given at all. But on the occasion that they are, there are so many other great (and affordable!) ideas for real food snacks that can feed the teams and classes! I’d love for you to share your ideas with us in the comments below.