5 Inexpensive Real Food Snacks for Sports and School

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!).

Lunchbox Love cards

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)

sports snack comparison on 100 Days of #RealFood

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

sports snack comparison on 100 Days of #RealFood

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

sports snack comparison on 100 Days of #RealFood

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, MaltodextrinCorn 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

sports snack comparison on 100 Days of #RealFood

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!!

sports snack comparison on 100 Days of #RealFood

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.

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215 thoughts on “5 Inexpensive Real Food Snacks for Sports and School”

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  1. Allergy parent here giving you a virtual high five.✋ Everything on that list is safe for my daughter. I hate the comment that “it’s just fruit snacks” they should be safe right!?” Just snack that may cause a hospital visit for my child. But thank you. Fruit is almost alway safe and healthy too. I don’t need more sugar, HFCS, coloring, or preservatives. Thank you! Sharing.

  2. Thank you for this. Just this week I have been struggling with this topic. My daughter is running in a cross country race with her team today (she is in high school) and the parents all thought it would be a great idea to feed the kids lunch afterward. It’s a tough course (college level) that really challenges our kids physically and mentally.

    I love the generosity of the parents but was saddened when reading the choice of lunch options. Sandwiches with processed breads and meat, chips, cookies, Popsicles and gatorade. What saddens me the most is that these generous parents believe they are providing a healthy and fun lunch for the kids.

    Sometimes it’s tough being the one person who insists on healthy but I stick to my convictions and often find the kids excited about the fresh fruit options and good old water I bring. And now as I type this we are heading to watch her race with a cooler of fresh fruit to offer the team and a little added comfort by reading your article.

    Thank you for all you share ~ Teresa

  3. Thank you for posting this! Our kids do T-ball where snacks after each game are standard, but luckily all parents seem to be on board with the healthier approach. The popcorn idea is great! They also do dance and hockey and I have yet to see a snack after either of those (whew).

    I remember when I was little, though, after baseball each player got to have $0.50 at the concession stands, which bought a lot of cigar gum and fun dips and tootsie rolls!!!

    I’m glad that isn’t the standard anymore.

  4. I coached soccer for 8 years. We mostly had fruit as our snacks. The real issue was the soccer association giving each player a snow cone after the game. YEP! run run run and then come over to the concession for your free cup of sugar!

  5. It’s great that you spoke out! Thanks for doing the research and making such a reasonable list of alternatives. It can be tricky going against the masses but there are a lot of us out there who agree!

  6. The dreaded snack. Every year when the parents ask hey are we doing snack? I want to say NO! I just tell my kids to say thank you and then bring my own snack for the kids. I usually only have 1 week so I figure the cost into the cost of the sport. I bring individually sealed bags of sliced apples from Costco, if I forget I will grab a box of kind granola bars. They aren’t one hundred percent healthy but much better than Gatorade, donuts, chips etc.

    When we were kids the parents were only allowed to bring fruit. I believe it is actually part of the soccer program. But I remember a few years ago I saw the website that they recommend oranges and other fruits. I just wish we would stop doing at this point. It is apparent that the other parents don’t want to do it. It is just an afterthought when they buy it.

  7. The dreaded snack. Every year when the parents ask hey are we doing snack? I want to say NO! I just tell my kids to say thank you and then bring my own snack for the kids. I usually only have 1 week so I figure the cost into the cost of the sport. I bring individually sealed bags of sliced apples from Costco, if I forget I will grab a box of kind granola bars. They aren’t one hundred percent healthy but much better than Gatorade, donuts, chips etc.

    When we were kids the parents were only allowed to bring fruit. I believe it is actually

  8. Please adjust the text in Option 4 to reflect the actual math. The apples are 8 cents (or $0.08) more expensive than the donuts.

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Yes, you are correct. If you read the text above the photos, that is addressed. I chose apples as the winner based on the text that was included:

      This is one where the cost is slightly higher for the real food option. But for the .08 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?

      1. No, you misunderstand. You cannot pay .08 cents more for something, that is far less than a penny. It should instead say either 8 cents or $0.08, you can use the decimal and the word cents at the same time.

      2. Thanks, Elizabeth, for pointing this out. (One of my personal pet peeves…) But typos are running rampant – I’m sure you mean “you CAN’T use the decimal and the word cents at the same time”. :)

        Great article! My son just started preschool last week, so I don’t have much experience in this area yet. But I wonder – if this topic is becoming a point of contention for so many people, why doesn’t everyone just bring their own snacks, if needed? Aren’t we making snacks for our young kids at home anyway? (Not trying to be snarky, I’m actually wondering this.) It seems the entire argument could be avoided if everyone just brought their own. It also deflates all the “you’re a food snob” vs. “I can’t believe you feed your kids that crap” tensions that may arise.

        I feel fortunate that my (admittedly small, only 40 students) preschool serves pretty good snacks, but also allows me to bring my own in place of theirs, if I want to.

  9. I should share this info with my fellow parents at my daughter’s preschool. Every kid’s family has a turn to take the snack, which must include a “nutritious snack and drink for 18 4 year olds, no nut products.” It’s beyond me who would think cheetos, oreo cookies and capri sun are even near nutritious, and all of this in the same day. I’m seriously planning a visit to the program director to do something to better educate other parents about the meaning of a nutritious snack.

  10. About 12 years ago, I introduced the “radical” policy that we would serve water during VBS instead of juice or kool-aid. I got some push back, but I stood my ground. We reinforced with the group leaders that they really needed to push their kids to drink their water because they really needed the hydration. After the week was over, we debriefed. They noticed several things: Behavior improved because the kids didn’t have the corn syrup and artificial colors coursing through their systems. It also improved when the kids were actually hydrated. The ladies in the snack area loved that spills were easy to clean up. There was no sticky residue. It was just water! If the kids spilled on their clothes, it didn’t matter.

    As for the bottles, I live in a city with horrible water and would never serve the kids tap water. If we’re at home or at the church, we have the large water cooler that we serve from, but if we’re away, bottled is our only choice. It’s not ideal, but sometimes, that’s all you can do. It’s still better than Capri Sun or Gatorade!

    1. Cheese sticks aren’t any more processed than other cheese. They’re just packaged in the shape of a stick rather than a ball as other mozzarella is. The ingredients are the same.

  11. Love the cost comparison, thanks!! We do snacks after every game…our girls play softball which is 90 minutes of activity with zero breaks (aside from being in the dugout) and typically the game days can be very hot, so a snack after 90 minutes in 80-90 degree weather is necessary. Typically, I bring tangerines, water and cheese sticks to “reboot” their bodies.

  12. Agreed! It drives me nuts when our kids play soccer for 30 minutes and then break for snack, having just eaten breakfast before hitting the soccer field. Our culture is obsessed with feeding our kids snacks!

  13. Agree with the notion that the kids do not require snacks for soccer practice or whatever it may be, drives me nuts too! But, when I am out-voted by the other parents (which is 90% of the time), I always choose cut up orange slices or watermelon slices.

  14. In reference to the gatorade vs water debate, no one should be buying water in bottles, it is a huge waste of plastic. Tap water is often better than bottled water since the bottlers are not required to monitor their water to the same standards as the municipalities are.
    I drives me nuts seeing people buying cases of plastic bottled water.

  15. I totally agree. Last year for preschool the parents were asked to send a snack and we all took turns bringing the class snack. While cake pops are cute, I did not appreciate the suger snack. I was so happy with the parents that brought something healthy. I have a very picky eater and she needed the positive peer pressure to eat some new things like string cheese.

  16. Wow – The comments on here shock me. I’m glad my children are not on teams with your children. I have 5 children who play 13 sports per year in total. There are so many other things to worry about. Every team has a snack and they love it. At 9, 11, 11, 13, and15 they are practicing for 90-120 minutes if they want chips and Gatorade fine with me. As your children you will see how trivial this subject really is. Actually I am amused by it.

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Glad you are amused, Cindy. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. My eldest (10) does gymnastics practice for 3 – 3.5 hours at a time. And does she get a healthy snack after that? Yes. But does my 8 year-old need a snack after 45 minutes of soccer practice, when practice ends at lunchtime and we’re headed home to eat? No. These are my opinions. And I personally am NOT fine with giving them Gatorade as I am not a fan of the food dyes. To each her own, though.

    2. This is just MY opinion, but I’ve watched one too many documentaries about the obesity epidemic to ever consider using the word “trivial” about this subject. And I don’t actually feel there are “so many other things to worry about.” The health of my family is in the very top of my priorities. Why wouldn’t a parent want to do the very best they can for their child in keeping them as healthy as possible? Why is that trivial?

  17. I have not read all the comments, but wanted to address how I handle snack time with 5 athletes. I don’t enjoy after game snacks either, but since it is a requirement, i go for the home made ones. I make muffins most often and give a string cheese and piece of fruit (banana or oranges are great for after exercising). I assume that since they have been playing a sport, they have their own water jug or drink of their choice. Banana wheat muffins are a hit as are rice Krispie treats (although probably not the healthiest) I have not found anyone allergic to either of those treats. I also have made my own granola bars (i know this website has many great ideas too) and find everyone enjoys a home made treat best!!! (every coach has given me permission to make my own vs. store bought kinds, but you do need to ask for allergies ahead of time).

  18. I remember playing soccer growing up, and we kids would be pretty tired right around half-time. They would give us oranges and water for snacks, and it was the best thing they could have done. It recharged us in just minutes and we were ready to finish the game with plenty of energy, and then some!

  19. Thanks so much for this. Keep beating the drum!! Whole/Real is not always more expensive than fake food!
    It makes me so mad every time I see or hear something stated on TV or in print media about how ‘such and so can not afford real food’. It’s a myth that is being perpetuated by people who are trying to make money off fake food!!! Just heard this morning that bc McDonald’s sales are going down, they will push promotions and lower prices to turn that around. I get it, they want to make money. But at the sake of making people sick. Our kids deserve better than to be fed junk everywhere: school, daycare, church, sports, etc.

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  21. Thank you for posting this! I would love more ideas on school snacks for a crowd – especially that don’t require refrigeration. I volunteer in my neighborhood school, as well as run an after school tutoring program for low-income kiddos. It pains me to see the garbage the kids are eating in schools these days. I actually just went to Trader Joe’s today to stock up on snacks for the kids. I bought 2 packs of mini pears for $2.99 each (12 pears per bag) as well as 2 packs of mini apples for $2.45 each (10 apples per bag) – and BOTH were organic! Additionally, I purchased some string cheese there – I believe it was $3.99 for 12. Definitely some economical options! Thank you for the suggestions and comparisons – I hope this post gets shared over and over and over again.

    1. That is awesome, Alison!
      How about bananas (also inexpensive at TJ’s), they also have mini packs of almonds (though I know the nut allergy folks won’t be crazy about this idea):), or fruit leather (if you can find it w/o sweeteners)? Squeezable applesauces are another option, though those really aren’t that inexpensive, unfortunately.

  22. At soccer we do either grapes or oranges for half time. I just wash and clip the grapes into smallish bunches or cut up the oranges into Quarters. I loved just being told what to do, bring grapes or oranges. These kids okay hard and I think the little fructose and water they all bring helps. They play an hour and are 11.

  23. I really liked this post. Really specific, down-to-earth info that applies to anyone. Most people can relate to the Walmart foods, even though they might not shop there often. Thanks. And BTW, I remember 20 years ago getting water and orange slices at city league soccer.

  24. I think lots of parents want to bring the more special or fancy snack so they do not seem cheap on their snack day. I wish people would be “cheap” if that means half a banana, a box of plain rainsins, apple slices etc… Agree that the junk food is just not needed. And really — a half banana is not going to ruin dinner, but some of the other snacks do keep my kids full enough that they then do not want the healthy things I make them for dinner.

    1. Of course organic would be better…Kiran’s comparing better options to Cheetos or Doritos, which I appreciate. And, she’s trying to debunk the idea that healthy has to be expensive which is perhaps why people think a Gatorade and a 6-pack of Oreos is an acceptable after game snack for a 6-yr. old (this was an actual snack from my child’s game). I think more than cost, people think that kids should get these unhealthy snacks as rewards for playing a 40-min game which just blows my mind. Although I serve my children organic as much as possible, I would much prefer a non-organic cheese stick and water to the above mentioned snack.

  25. I’m so thankful to be learning to eat “real food” while my babies are still babies. It will make it that much easier to handle situations like recreational sports snacks from the beginning!

    1. You’re are lucky. I was just sitting here thinking “Geez, I wish I would’ve known all this great info when my kids were younger”. To my credit however, I was raised by whole foods kind parents who made almost everything from scratch (I’m one of seven kids so eating out was never a cost effective option for our family). When I started my own family I never paid much attention to ingredients. Now I’m working hard to undo all the prepackaged brain washing but my kids still love to eat a lot of junky, sugary foods. It’s great to start them young!

  26. I sent your post to the organizers of my son’s sports team (i9). I got a quick response that it was great information and it was going to be forwarded to their marketing team (?). I hope they will share it with all their coaches. My husband is actually going to coach my son’s team this fall, so maybe WE can make a difference and share this information with his team. Thanks for all you do!

  27. This is so timely and thank you for a place to discuss this topic. Our soccer coach took this issue to a whole new level last night when she announced to the team during the game that they could all go to Dairy Queen if they won the game! I couldn’t believe it. This is in addition to the snack and drink already provided after the game!! Not to mention it was a school night and already getting late for showers and bedtime routine and my kids had already been fed junk at Grandma’s house(a whole separate issue I’m working on)! I like the coach as a friend and our daughters are friends, so I’m looking for a polite, non-confrontational way to address the issue. Any ideas?

  28. Well I just wanted to add in here too. My household by no means as healthy as some of you. But with three kids I try to give them the best. Then they go to school. A private school that we work hard to pay for. And it’s there that they are given a daily dose of all things I don’t allow in my panty. It’s so sad. My kindergarten child will sometimes refuse the snack saying mom it was just too much sugar. Sounds great on her part. But she’s not always so strong. My 5th grader had to bring package cookies to school for a science project. But all 22 kids brought the cookies. So what does the teacher do allow each kid to have 8 cookies to eat in one sitting!!! Wow. Yes I complained but I might as well talk to a brick wall. All we can really do is very day I tell them I’m sending you with this heathy lunch because I love you and want the best. I tell them to think about the foods they eat and we have deep conversations about eating foods god made and not a lab. We read ingredients together and look them up. But really a child shouldn’t need to feel the outcast because she doesn’t want to eat the 2 grams of trans fat on top of the cupcake.

  29. We got rid of snacks for my daughter’s softball team (they are now in 5th grade) and it has been such a blessing! Not only that, but because of so many allergies on my son’s soccer team (my son has a food dye allergy), the parents opted out of snacks there, too! The kids are there to play and do not even miss the snack. We make sure they have a healthy meal before hand and usually by the time we get home it is time for another meal. Now when the teams go out for ice cream or whatever, it is special and they get to focus on the TIME with friends instead of the junk in the food. Love that you have posted the healthier choices that are generally lower in cost!!!

  30. I completely agree with the whole ‘get rid of the snack’ at the end of a game idea. If you want your child to have a snack, then bring one! It creates a hassle for the coach’s wife (me) to create a snack schedule, then parents end up not bringing the snack. I feel I need to run to the store and get one so there’ll be something at the end of the game!
    Don’t even get me started on the end of the season banquet/trophy vs. not having one…
    How do you suggest going about trying to get the association to do a ‘no snack’ policy?

  31. Amen Sista!! Little league is starting up again & I’m pondering how I can nicely “package up” and email to team (without ruffling feathers) your post. I HATE being ‘that’ mom every time a game ends and I have to say “no you can’t have that”. I sometimes give in so he’s not always feeling different. But come on, I have a kid that struggles enough with ADHD, do we really need to pump food coloring and chemicals I can’t even pronounce into him? OMG, reading this I realize I am ‘that’ mom! ;-)

    Keep up the great work!

  32. Hope you’re having a great week Kiran! Thanks for making it “easy” on me…. When I approached the director and the coaches of my 3 children’s teams about healthy snacks, they were already on board and had your list of healthy options posted on their website. :-) Way to go, and WAY TO GO CSA!!

    1. Hi Yanisa!

      I am so glad you had success!! One team at a time, right? Way to go to YOU for making an effort to suggest changes!


  33. I know some of you are saying no snacks for sports but sometimes it’s necessary.
    My son is 9 and has football games every Saturday at 11:30am. With him having to be there at 9:30 and sometimes an hour away he has breakfast at 8am. The game typically doesn’t end until 12:30-1pm, in the TX heat (heat index over 100 most times) his whole team is exhausted and hungry so a snack to hold them over is really recommended. I definitely agree that a healthy snack is the way to go and most of the other parents agree. We typically have some type of water and a fruit which I have never heard a complaint of any parent.

    PS. I love all of your post, I’ve been following for a long time. Thank you!!!!

  34. Every parent that has to provide snack for a whole class needs to see this. I can’t tell you how many times my kid came home with empty chip/goldfish/prepackaged popcorn bags stuffed in her backpack in kindergarten. Thankfully, I get to pack her snack everyday this year instead of once or twice a month!

  35. We need to fight the schools and their ridiculous rules about food. I know this post is really directed toward after-sports snacks, but my kids were in preschool last year, and the snacks were ridiculous. For example (and these are for 2-4 year olds, twice a day): Large packaged rice krispy treats (26g sugar), pre-made s’mores (poptart style), poptarts, teddy grahams, nutrigrain bars, gummy bears, jello, pudding cups, the list goes on. 85% of the snacks were sugar filled. the others were still chemical filled. A few times a month they had bananas, and carrots with Ranch. Other than that- junk. I refused to give my kids these snacks. The director did not like it, but I insisted on bringing my kids’ snacks. They had to be peanut free and pnfree facility, so I had to bring all labels. I got the “healthier, real food” versions of some of these, like the Nature’s Path version of the poptart, and I split one of them between my two kids. Still not something I would give them at home, but I didn’t want them to feel like outcasts, plus I was also limited in what I could take in (homemade stuff was not allowed). But, it caused problems from the beginning bc the director took it personally like I was saying “her” snacks were not good enough. I graciously told her I just didn’t feel comfortable giving my kids these kinds of snacks 10 times a week, and that we eat a certain way and that I limit my kids’ sugar intake. Looking back, it was her problem if she wanted to get bent out of shape about it. I try to do what’s best for my children, and if someone has a problem with it, oh well!! We need to fight against this poisoning of our babies! And all those kids pumped full of sugar…well they had lots of trouble concentrating and focusing, while my kids had no problem (and I know it had to do with what they ate!). So, we really have to be vigilant.

    1. Jennifer,
      I hear you loud and clear. It’s really a tough battle … you don’t want to be impolite, and we certainly aren’t suggesting that their snacks are not good enough. We are just offering other choices. Perhaps even taking this article to show the cost savings may be a start? And maybe getting other moms to show that they are on board with the same thinking? Just a thought …

  36. Years ago I gave apples and bottled water as a snack at my sons soccer game. Everyone looked at me like I had 4 heads but I didn’t care!

    1. LOL – so many questions on mini-apples. I am referring to the apples that come in a bag. They have them at almost every grocery store I go to. They are smaller than the “regular” apples that are sold alone, but that’s it. HTH!

      1. Gala can be small. Fuji apples are too. Look at what kind it is, and where it comes from. I’m floored at how you call them mini apples. Seems strange, and misinformed.
        I appreciate the info on options available. It’s common sense to me. My kids would need a snack, they have high metabolisms. So for a straight across the board line of “no snacks after sports” that wouldn’t fly in my family. Still have to keep in mind blogs are simply others opinions, and beliefs. I choose to disagree with some of your information. I don’t believe cooking popcorn in a chemically processed paper bag, in the microwave is healthy. It defeats the purpose, unless it’s labeled organic non gmo. I have yet to see that one. Popcorn kettles are a better choice. We all have the ability to be smart, and make good choices for ourselves.

  37. I completely agree with the no snacks at sports (and we don’t even have allergies)!! Depending on the time of the activity, we have either recently had a meal, say weekend morning or afternoon games, will be after a healthy breakfast or a healthy lunch at home, so eating again right after exercising will not be needed. For evening sports, my boys will get a healthy snack; fruits, veggies, nuts, after school to have energy for the sport and then home for dinner, the kids will come back home with great appetite to enjoy a healthy dinner! :-)Thanks for all your great posts!!

  38. I would love to see sports be snack-free…but due to allergies. I don’t understand the constant eating in our society. If a child really can’t make it an hour without eating they are probably eating too many carbs to begin with. How about an apple on the ride home? But of course I’m a little biased because.it’s.just one more place where.my daughter with deadly food allergies would feel left out, or be endangered.

  39. I completely agree with you about healthy snacks without artificial ingredients and not processed. However, I disagree with you about kids needing snacks after a game. 45 minutes of physical exertion is a long time, especially for kids. I absolutely think they need a snack afterward. And it doesn’t ruin my kids appetite for the 3 main meals. I feel your opinion on your post about snacks, is in the wrong post.

    1. Lindsay, I think Lisa’s point was irony – that we send our kids out for exercise, and then give them empty calories to fill back up again.

    2. I think we need to be smart about the types of snacks that kids get, and realistic about what playing soccer represents in terms of energy consumption. According to several websites, a full grown, 150 pound adult, burns about 250 calories in a thirty minute recreational game. A child will burn less because they weigh less, but let’s just assume they play really hard for 45 minutes and manage to use up 250 calories on the field.

      If you give a kid a water and an apple or an orange (the type of snacks common 30 years ago), they are nicely re-hydrated and get about 50-80 calories to boost their blood sugar and keep them going until the next meal. If you give them a bag of Cheetos and a Capri-sun (a common snack today), they consume about 210 calories, or basically everything they just burned in 45 minutes of exercise. That alone should be a reason for even a stubborn coach to rethink the size and content of the snack!

      One other thought on providing snacks. It may be true that a well-fed kid really doesn’t need much, if anything, after a mild sports activity. However, there can be kids from a lot of backgrounds and home situations, and while it might be easy for a kid who had a healthy lunch a few hours ago and is heading home to a healthy dinner in another few hours to skip the snacks, some kids on the team may not be so lucky. A small, healthy snack could be a real blessing for a kid without much to eat at home.

  40. Great post. This feeding our kids crap every time they turn around is so out of hand! I get very upset when I hear people say that junk food is just simply cheaper than healthy food. It’s not! The only thing about your post that I did think was a bit silly… and if you post this again … is buying notes to put in lunches and hand out with team snacks. You might lose some people right there. And this post is excellent and I don’t want the message to get lost. Keep it simple.

  41. Love this! My son is in daycare and his teachers are always asking parents to help out with the late afternoon snack. I’m the mom who brings in the organic grapes, etc. I just have to bring something that I’d want my child to eat. The raisins and cheese are great ideas. I didn’t think about the cheese sticks but I know they’d love that.

  42. My older son has been playing football for years! For my snack day, I give out bananas (or cuties or grapes when in season) and either peanut butter crackers or string cheese. I also give them water. Thanks for the post.

  43. My son isn’t old enough for sports yet, but when I was in sports growing up it was typical to get a drink afterwards provided by parents, but not a snack. If we got a snack it was usually orange slices or grapes. I will admit that parents usually brought sodas or capri suns which aren’t good at all for re-hydrating. When I was on the high school volleyball team and we had to stop to eat after an away game or during an all day tournament our coach only let us have water to drink. It cut down on the cost the school had to pay for our meals (cups of water are usually free at restaurants) and was much healthier. Unless you are loosing a ton of electrolytes (like college and pro athletes do in extreme heat) there is no reason to drink anything except water.

  44. Great post Kiran! My son isn’t playing sports yet so I haven’t seen garbage snacks even handed out but would be horrified. What ever happened to an orange slice and some water? :)

  45. My daughter is in competition gymnastics & practices 4 hours a day/4 days a week. She has to take snacks to keep her going. She is one of the few who brings good, whole foods! The coaches are constantly telling the parents to not send their girls with chips & McDonald’s food! My daughter does take a lot of nut mixes because she needs the protein.

  46. My hubby coached my stepdaughter’s 8 and under softball team and for whatever reason some of the parents thought that we should be providing snacks after every game. We already take a drink cooler of water so kids can either fill up their own bottles or use the cups we bring.I mean hello this is a volunteer position. We did get snacks for one game because it was a Saturday tournament and we had a game wait. So I made little baggies with cheese sticks, red and green grapes and for a treat everybody got a piece of bubble gum. But we still had parents complaining the next game because nothing was brought. I’m sorry but it is not my responsibility to feed your child.

  47. I have asked our coach via email every season if we can please not have snacks and drinks given out after our games. Each coach has put it out to the team for a vote which resulted in overwhelming agreement. It is ridiculous that kids need a snack after a single game. They already bring their own water. I was fed up with our lunch or breakfast being ruined by the kids gobbling up whatever junk was being handed out before they had a proper meal.

  48. Great post…amazing that Gatorade has artificial dye. It is banned in some parts of Europe or it comes with warning label..crazy!!

  49. Just goes to show you how marketing (and I’m a marketer!) can sway people to believe they need something that they don’t. It’s what makes businesses money but that, in this case, harms us. In my opinion, if it doesn’t come from the earth naturally, it probably shouldn’t be eaten.

  50. Love the post. I agree w u. The issue i face is that kids just dont like the healthy alternatives. In my home, i have a daughter who loves fruits, nuts, cheese and healthy food but if given the opportunity she’ll take the capri sun w chips. I at least can control most of what she eats and thats fine w me. Also i have a step son and step daughter that refuse to eat anything healthy. They rather go starving for the rest of the day than eat an apple…

  51. Ginger Gold apples don’t turn brown when you slice them. It’s the only apple I know of which has this property. Good for preschoolers & older kids w/ braces! (Works in school lunches.) Ginger Gold seems to be an early apple & can be hard to find. Bought some in supermarket at beginning of September (in northeastern USA). these were conventionally grown.

    It’s a good eating apple and has good texture & sweetness. My family prefers MacIntosh if we’re eating an apple at home. But if you want apple slices in a bag lunch, you can’t beat Ginger Gold.

    Ginger Golds are yellow-green in color.

    1. I’ve had good luck with Gala apples. I slice them and keep them in a container with a lid — when packed full, they don’t go brown. Whether preschool or high school, they ALWAYS get eaten! Plus, it doesn’t take many apples to feed a big group when you slice them first :)

  52. I would like to see this post compare foods in identical quantities with similar nutritional qualities (the good ones). I.e. trail mix and raisins aren’t really comparable. To make a legitimate comparison, doesn’t it make more sense to compare a diy mix made with nuts, seeds and fruit to the commercial mix with added candies and other unwanted ingredients?

  53. Thank you for this post. Hopefully readers will post other ideas too. This year my son eats lunch at school at 10:30! We can send a snack for later but we have to send enough for the whole class. It cannot be homemade or contain wheat or dairy. I sent bags of apples but I can’t afford to send 25 snacks every day! Hopefully I can get other parents to maybe sign up to bring snacks so our kiddos aren’t starving by 3:30.

    1. It is ridiculous that you have to send enough for the whole class. Many schools/classrooms offer a snack time. They should just say parents can send a healthy afternoon snack for their own child. It is not a party, there is no reason to have to share with everyone. I would take that up with the principal. Ridiculous! (I taught public school for 9 years).

  54. I usually pop big things of popcorn. It’s my cheapest go-to. But, with a large group of kids, especially indoors, it’s pretty messy. Other snacks are not as much so.

    And for us, cost is definitely an issue. Glad to see some side by sides.

  55. I was convicted by your previous guest post – thank you! I wanted to spark some healthy snack bringing to my kid’s soccer game, so, I brought water and little oranges – I couldn’t hand them out fast enough! The kids were so excited! It also inspired other moms to bring healthier snacks, too. Thank you!

  56. I’m struggling with this right now. The preschool I teach at allows no food prep at all- we can’t even wash apples. It’s amazingly difficult to find snack ideas to feed the kids that are at all nutritional, and the choices we’ve come up with get old pretty quickly (especially since we’re supposed to keep the cost low, too…). My co-workers and I compromise our nutritional ethics a lot for the sake of variety- I would never feed my son a gogurt tube, but we serve them at school because we’re not allowed to either serve yogurt from a big tub or spend enough to buy decent yogurt cups. It’s very frustrating!

    1. you should fight this. It’s so ridiculous the rules schools are coming up with. If you can purchase a large yogurt container, and take it unopened, then portion it out, there is no danger and it is much cheaper! Ugh, this makes me irate! I would never send my child to a school that does this. They are WASTING their education efforts by pumping our children full of sugar and chemicals. This causes severe problems in behavior and concentration! But the schools decide to spend as little as possible on quality food, then we have to turn around and spend an abundance on health care! Sorry for the rant, but this seriously upsets me.

      1. The schools are going this route because there is a problem of cross contamination. Is the person who is dividing the yogurt into smaller portions wearing gloves to ensure that whatever they have come into contact with before scooping doesn’t touch the food? Are the gloves latex free to assist with those with latex allergies? Then there is the question of what has the spoon or implement used to scoop out the product been in contact with? Was it sterilized after the last use? And yes, I said sterilized not just washed for allergen concerns. And let’s not forget the counter or board that food was prepared on – has that been sterilized?? You obviously have never had to deal with a child or family member with severe food allergies. You would be amazed at the small amount of allergin that can trigger a huge reaction. The schools are doing this to keep the kids safe. Is it a pain yes, but wouldn’t you rather be put out a little than know that you caused another child’s death?? Because, yes, unfortunately, kids die from food allergies every day.

      2. If a child has a severe allergy, then first of all, the parents are responsible for ensuring their safety. Secondly, THEY should bring their own food and be restricted from the common food. The minority should not drastically effect the majority. And because of a very few, the mass are being POISONED very slowly with stuff that shouldn’t even be called food. I understand a “peanut free” zone, but other than that, it is very uncommon for a possibly fatal allergy, and it’s an injustice that, in reality, schools are just trying to save their a**es from parents who would sue in a heartbeat if their child had an allergic reaction there. So, really, this has nothing to do with keeping [a few] kids from allergens, but from avoiding law suits. If a child has a food allergy- PACK THEIR FOOD and stop inundating the masses with JUNK. Allergies are not an excuse!

  57. I couldn’t agree more about the snacks being completely unnecessary! However, you don’t want to be “that” parent who doesn’t bring a snack. In the past, I have opted to give out cut up watermelon, orange slices, string cheese, carrot sticks. I have to say, I always get compliments from the other parents and the kids love it! It may take a little more effort than buying prepackaged junk, but isn’t it worth it?! :)

  58. Our recreational sports days are long over, but our daughter’s soccer coach always insisted that one parent each week bring orange slices. Orange juice and sports drinks were discouraged. Water and real oranges were the preferred forms of refreshment.

  59. We make popcorn in our stock pot. Follow the directions from Cooks Illustrated. Perfect every time. Save the paper bag and skip the microwave. Popcorn kernels in bulk are actually even more affordable. A go to snack for us!

  60. I love this post. I especially love that it speaks to those who have trouble affording good wholesome food. Organic can be hugely expensive. Sometimes reading and hearing about real food can be so discouraging (just ask many of my Medicare patients). We need to do more to encourage people to start where they are and do their best. I would rather see someone eat nonorganic fruit than fruit snacks or prepackaged trail mix.

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      So well said, Jennifer. We all can do what we can do. And as I mention within the post, we absolutely suggest organic – but we realize it’s not possible for everyone every time. Each effort that we make DOES add up!

  61. My son is an athletic Type 1 diabetic. We work hard to ensure he is properly (read: healthily) fueled up before he starts a long distance run or a baseball game. We also ALWAYS have more snacks available in case his blood sugar drops. This is a medical need for him. It’s frustrating when the other kids in the dugout are eating chips and drinking soda- not even pretending with Gatorade! And when the coaches decide to ‘reward’ the team with ice cream… ugh.

  62. Bought bottles of water? Get a reusable bottle and fill it from the tap. Cheap, simple, green and healthy (at least for those of us lucky to live in countries like NZ with clean water supply.

  63. My son plays “travel” baseball, so they usually have weekend tournaments and often have 2 or more games in a day, with each game about 90 minutes long. In between games, the kids would beg for snacks from the concession stand. My son would get so upset when we said no, since it’s what the other kids were eating. This year I was overjoyed when the head coach told them that he would bench anyone caught eating concession food, and the parents were to bring healthy sandwiches, fruit, etc from home. He never asked for concession food once!! Yeah!!!!

    1. That’s awesome to see coaches standing up for kids health. It seems like coaches are all too caught up in the game these days and not truly invested in the kids and their health.

  64. It’s not sports, but while at Meet the Teacher night, my son’s teacher mentioned that lunch was late this year. It’s at noon…a normal lunch time. But because lunch is “late,” they have a morning snack now. Which I feel is completely unnecessary. He doesn’t get sent with one.
    He did used to be in a rec soccer group. They did provide snacks, which didn’t bother me. But I do see that it’s not necessary either. Thankfully, though, everyone brought healthy snacks.

  65. When I lived in CA the snacks were varied. Some parents brought junk, others brought fruit and as a coach I always brought a huge jug of water. When I moved to Hawaii, it was a potluck, full dinner or lunch for the entire family after every event. I really enjoyed hanging around and interacting with the families after an event instead of grabbing a bag of chips and juice box and leaving right away.

  66. I agree kids don’t need snacks at sports or everywhere they go, Just water.but when my son played soccer and it was my turn to bring a treat I sent Orange wedges or watermelon. In Canada (Ontario) only healthy snacks are allowed to be given out at school…no candy.

  67. I am absolutely on your side about serving healthier options to groups of kids. I also agree that it is often the more frugal option. However, many organizations and schools mandate that all food must be prepared in a commercial kitchen and sealed in order to serve it. It causes me a great deal of stress when it’s my kids’ turns because I want to serve something healthy, but it is difficult to meet those commercially-prepared “safety” parameters and ensure variety without getting very, very pricey. Oh, and they also prefer it to be individually packaged and shelf-stable….please help. Perhaps an article just on this :-).

    – commercially prepared and sealed
    – individually packaged
    – shelf stable
    – dairy free, nut free
    – healthy
    – variety (they tire of raisins pretty quickly)
    – 30 kids
    – affordable

  68. When this post was originally posted, I really took it to heart. I am a director of Children’s Ministry. I had always thought that our snack was just once a month. But, after reading this post I was reminded that Sunday School is 4 times a month and Kid’s Club once, but the kids also do girl scouts, sports, and other activities. If they were getting a treat at each, it was nearly every day. So, we have eliminated snacks. Our kids can live an hour at Sunday School without a snack. For VBS, we served fruits, veggies, and a few whole grain snacks. They were supposed to have cookies, with frosting and candy sprinkles. Some of the kids hated the change, but most of them love the fruit. Thanks for drawing my attention to this.

  69. Thank you for this post! I am also frustrated with candy or other processed snacks used as rewards for childrens’ activities and at school. I am not a Walmart shopper, but many people are, and this post proves that you can find alternatives to highly processed foods at these types of stores. Thank you again for this experiment!!!

  70. When my children played soccer, we always had a cooler for water and gave out orange wedges for a half time pick-me-up! Anyone who had a child with an allergy brought a snack for their child. The responsibility for the snacks rotated each game, with all parents taking a turn. The kids loved it.

  71. Great ideas! Last year on my “snack night” for soccer, I brought a big bowl of popcorn and little cups the kids could scoop. It was a HUUUUGE hit! For Parents and kids alike. I have also brought popcorn in paper bags as birthday treats instead of homemade cupcakes. Still a bit work, but nice to offer something different than kids usually get.

    And quartered oranges are always a favourite.

  72. Lol Sheila I brought applesauce (individual pouches) and water bottles to my son’s baseball game and a couple kids were like “eeeew” (they are used to Gushers and “Froot” Roll ups). My kids eat applesauce like it’s cake (and trust me they get plenty of actual treats) so I was kinda surprised.

    1. Andrea, I was the same – I brought the squeezable applesauces and water since we were *required* to bring something. A few kids turned it down; my kids were happy to have more! :)

  73. Our snacks for afternoon or after play are either a Banana or apple and water! It does drive my crazy when they give my kids unhealthy snacks at school – cheezits and animal crackers – they’re better off not having a snack!!

  74. My daughter (4) has recently started gymnastics. At the end of the lesson the teacher gives each student a red-licorice stick. This really bothers me as it isn’t something I would normally let her eat. I know it’s “just one piece,” but it has so much dye in it. Of course my daughter is so happy since she doesn’t get much candy. These 4 year-olds don’t need to be bribed. They love gymnastics. So, I’m really not sure why they’re giving them the treat at the end.

    1. My daughter’s gymnastics teachers have always done stamps on the kids hands. Maybe you could suggest that? They all love it and can’t wait to see what there stamp is that day. I’m sure in the long run it’s cheaper, too!

      1. They do stamps too. LOL! I thought about asking them not to give out candy. One of the little girls just throws it away because she doesn’t like licorice.

  75. Thoughts on those boxed raisins… last I checked, Great Value wasn’t organic, and aren’t grapes (ie: raisins) on the Dirty Dozen list?? Obviously they’re a better alternative to the trail mix, but… I’d be curious to see how organic raisins would stack up cost wise

    1. Lindsay,

      We absolutely suggest organic when feasible – but this experiment was to show that even if Wal-Mart is the only store available, or if budget is a concern, there are good options available. And Wal-Mart did not have organic. However, the next time I am shopping I will try to check the cost of the organic raisins and compare – or please share if you see them!

    2. Plus, Who’d want to give their kids a WHOLE box of raisins, just think of all that concentrated sugar. Trader Joe’s has individual packages of raisin and nut trail mix, though I’m sure it costs more, it would probably be cheaper to mix one’s own and bag it.

  76. Our school started a new rule this year – no food snacks allowed, and I am very grateful. Last year, the kids received so much garbage and candy it was ridiculous. It used to irritate me so much that these people got to decide that they could feed my kid this garbage. I think that all schools should adopt this rule. Kids are allowed to bring one healthy snack from home to eat during the day, which is great because it lets me decide what my child will be snacking on, rather than someone else who doesn’t understand the all the stomach issues we’ve had to deal with. And if that sounds judgy, then oh-well. They didn’t have to pay our medical bills.

  77. My daughter is a varsity tennis player. Kids playing at the high school level really do need something to eat between school and sports, so they take turns bringing a drink and snack to away matches. Today, it’s her turn, and she practically begged me for “grapes, and just regular water, PLEASE. No one wants gatorade!” At a certain point, kids start to take their own needs seriously. It’s a great thing to see!

  78. I couldn’t agree more! This past weekend I volunteered to bring snack for my 6 year old daughter’s soccer team. I was hoping to set the standard by bringing something healthy but it didn’t end up how I had hoped. The kids (other than my own) literally REFUSED to take the fruit and bottled water. They looked at the snack and walked away! The other team handed out Cheetos and big Gatorades. I think they were wishing they were on the other team. It worked out for me-I had lots of oranges and grapes ready to go for my kids lunches for the week.

  79. I don’t have kids, but as an environmental educator and someone who is active and used to be a competitive swimmer, I understand the need to fuel up.
    The summer camp we ran we provided breakfast, morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack. This was an active, outdoor camp for underprivleged kids ages 6-12. They always acted like they were starving. We also were on a tight budget. Though some really loved their “junky” food, they also craved fresh fruit and veggies. So we would buy a watermelon and cut it up the day before, Goldfish (which are a better alternative to chips), we would take individual bags and half them,they loved oranges, carrots, celery with PB. Even if it wasn’t organic, we tried our best to offer a better alternative. You do the best you can do!

  80. How do you combat the “must be in an individually packed sealed container” that a lot of schools are doing now? This is where I run into issues. I can’t even bring anything in unless it is sealed and from the store. I personally find this ridiculous, I understand their point if view but respectfully disagree. I defiantly like all of the options you presented but a few are not options we would be able to use in our district. Do you have more ideas for those of us that face this particular issue? Feel free to email me if you want.

    1. Lindsay,

      I’m not trying to be smart – but would oranges, bananas or even apples count? Surely being in natures own “container” would hopefully suffice? I have not personally been up against this so I’m not familiar with the rules. At my kids old school we did have to have store-bought, but not necessarily in a “sealed container”. Maybe a bag of the apples or a bag of the oranges?

    2. You can combat this by bringing the packaging, even if not “individually packaged”. No one can force you to feed your child something you do not want them to eat. I put my kids in preschool last year, and actually worked there as an afternoon aide, and the snacks were HORRIBLE. They were sugar filled, processed, nasty stuff. Why should a 2 year old eat a large, packaged rice krispy treat (w 26 g of sugar) for a snack?? This is just one example. I told the director, I was not comfortable with feeding my children the provided snacks, twice a day, every day. She was offended, but I held my ground. She said everything had to be peanut free (then berated me when I asked about almonds, not even closely related to peanuts) and made in a peanut free facility and that I had to provide all labels and ingredient lists. Whatever, that’s fine. I’ll do it to prevent my children from consuming about 50g of sugar a day through snacks. They cannot force you to feed your children anything. You can fight it!

  81. I’m in total agreement with you, in theory. However, I run an urban nonprofit youth after-school program, and I know firsthand how difficult it is to feed truly healthy snacks multiple times a day to 30+ kids on a limited budget and with next to no staff. Since I took over, the kids are no longer eating Ramen and fake cheddar/PB crackers, but I haven’t yet found a way to move away from “organic” gummy treats and portioned popcorn. You’re right that a large container of popcorn is cheaper than the bags, but who’s going to cook it? And where? And when are we preparing this? Because there is never enough time, ever, ever. (All of my attempts at cutting fresh veggies with hummus proved this to me.) And what are we putting it in to make the kids all get equal amounts and don’t stick their hands in a communal pot? And after we procure those individual glass (cringe) or plastic serving bowls (and not paper or plastic, because those are expensive as repeat purchases and they cause excessive trash and stress on our planet), who’s making sure they don’t end up in the trash (you’d be surprised) and making sure the kids wash them in the bathroom that has exactly 90 seconds of hot water available?

    I’m not arguing your ideals, but I’m suggesting you look for a happy medium. This stuff is HARD, and even those of us who are aware and really do want to provide the best options have limitations. Serious ones. I love your blog, I think you have wonderful ideas, but sometimes, the posts are a little judge-y. Work WITH the people who have the experience, not against them.

    1. As a mom of a child with severe food allergies, I wouldn’t let my child eat something like popcorn that was prepared at someone’s house. The rule tends to be that it needs a label if my son is going to eat it. I don’t care what it is. I would also tend to not do dairy. Every sport team my kids have been on have had kids with dairy issues, from intolerance to severe life threatening allergies.

      Also, I thought the poster Em said a lot if good stuff. I like this blog, but sometimes the real world examples aren’t really real world. Don’t get me started on the food stamps posts.

    2. It’s true that a lot of healthy snacks are not going to work for the “real world” challenges faced in an urban after school program or even a suburban sports team with no kitchen for prepping snacks. But most of the examples given here are pretty basic in terms of preparation and give you an even swap of less healthy for more healthy. Raisins in a box or bottled water instead of Gatorade require absolutely nothing of you- they are in single serve packages and require no special storage. Apples instead of donuts- both have a shelf life of a few weeks so are similarly perishable, but do not need to be refrigerated. The popcorn in paper bags instead of the microwave mini bags- both require a microwave, but if you already serve microwave mini bags, swapping them for the paper bag version requires almost no additional effort. And you pop one bag per kid and serve in the bag. It works for 10 kids, but not for 50. The only possible issue I have is cheese, but not because “some parents don’t consider it healthy.” It is being suggested as a swap for artificial cheese flavored chips, and I’m pretty sure even fewer parents consider those healthy or let their kids with dairy allergies partake of them. But, unlike chips, cheese requires a refrigerator or a cooler. It cannot be tossed in a hot trunk for hours or stored on a pantry shelf. Perhaps individual bags of sunflower seeds would be a more comparable swap?

    3. Em – while I understand your frustration, I think you are misunderstanding Kiran’s post.

      This particular post is addressing snacks parents bring for after school activities to feed the entire group/sports team. Your after school program involves you (and perhaps a handful of other adults) running an after school program that provides the snacks. I don’t know the number of adults who work with you who can help with food/snack preparation, but comparing what you do to one parent bringing one snack to an event perhaps once every few weeks doesn’t really line up. Of course you are going to have more time issues than that one parent. (Perhaps I’m misunderstanding you, but I’m pretty sure you are preparing the snacks and not parents bringing snacks in to share.)

      The popcorn is, in my opinion, an easy fix. If you click on the link in Kiran’s post, you’ll see that 100 Days suggests using a paper bag to pop the popcorn in the microwave (if you have one available to you). The paper bags are reusable, or can be recycled. I don’t see how this is different than microwaving the bagged popcorn compared to in the post, so I’m not sure why you/your staff wouldn’t have time for this. If you don’t have access to a microwave, then you don’t pick a snack that needs microwaving.

      Slicing veggies and larger fruit can be accomplished quickly with a mandolin slicer (just watch your fingers!). If you’d like to keep something fresh, this is certainly an option that can remain for adults to use. Alternately, you can buy baby carrots (which I’ve found to be amazingly inexpensive, even when purchasing organic), and no slicing would be needed.

      Depending on their age, the children can help prepare the snack. I’m assuming you have children in a variety of age groups, so certainly giving some of the older or more able children an opportunity to assist would be useful in them developing life skills and knowledge about the value of fresh and real foods.

      I’m not trying to belittle your concerns – certainly you have difficulties that I will never be aware of; however, I have to say I find it ironic that you would follow a real food blog and then complain about the bloggers writing posts that encourage parents to bring real food snacks instead of processed foods full of synthetic chemicals and artificial dyes.

      I see nothing judgmental about Kiran’s post here today. She is writing this to answer questions from parents (and probably complaints) that bringing real food snacks is more expensive than the fake, artificial junk food. It’s a quick comparison to show that if the time is invested to actually compare costs, real food is actually less expensive.

      I don’t think Kiran, Lisa, or anyone else who posts on a real food blog need to change their ideals. This is their passion – if you don’t feel that real food is the most important, that is fine, but suggesting others change because you don’t agree is not the way to go. It sounds from your post that you are here because you are looking for healthier options for the children you serve – that is truly great! However, it is up to you and your staff to determine what is appropriate for those children, and not the staff at 100 Days.

  82. I agree with all of these, but I would avoid cheese due to allergies and differences of opinion on dairy. We all define “real food” a little differently. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t include fruit, vegetables, and water in their definition.

  83. This is a great post. My husband and I couldn’t agree more this idea of giving junk to kids after they have some exercise. My husband is head coach for his daughter’s team and at first he did not even want to offer it. But him and the assistant coach agreed the only options parents are allowed to offer is water and a piece of fruit.

    I am so happy you wrote this post because I have not seen a lot of people expressing this idea.