Fall is almost here, and with it comes team sports. Parents know what that means: early mornings, muddy kids and the dreaded team snack sign-up. Team snack duty can be a time consuming conundrum. You want something the kids will like, that everyone can eat (even the athletes with food allergies) and is somewhat healthy.
We know this isn’t an easy task, so we’ve rounded up a few simple team snack ideas that are easy to put together and land somewhere between organic homemade fruit leather and a doughnut.
Butterfly Snack Bags
Here’s a fun way to package two or three snacks together. Use a sandwich-size plastic bag and fill each side with a portion of different food. The possibilities are endless: cheese cubes and crackers, grapes and pretzels, raisins and wheat crackers — you get the idea. Use a pipe cleaner to divide the bag, then twist to create antennae. You can leave it as, or go the extra mile and tape on a cheese stick for the body and draw a cute smile.
S’mores Trail Mix
If you would like to offer up a sweet snack idea to the team, try this three-ingredient mix for the win. It takes only a few minutes to put together, and the players will love these deconstructed S’mores. Teddy Grahams are made with real honey and provide 10 grams of whole grain per serving, plus they are cute. The chocolate chips will melt in hot little hands, so consider providing wet wipes as well.
Monster Energy Cookie Bites
These no-bake cookies are a great source of protein and are so easy to make that even little kids can help and older kids can mix up a batch by themselves. The recipe is easily adaptable to any type of nut butter, plus you can even add in protein powder for an extra boost. Freeze before the game and you won’t need to bring a cooler. As a bonus, these cookies don’t crumble, so there are no crumbs all over the car (or your child).
Fruit is a great team snack idea, especially after the game. But how to serve it up with a minimum of fuss and mess? Bananas are always an easy option, you could even use a Sharpie to write the names of team members or encouraging words on the peels. Or, serve up fruit salad by layering cut-up fruit in a lidded plastic cup and sticking a plastic fork through the straw hole of the lid. On hot days watermelon is always welcome. Cut it into wedges, and then after making a slit in the rind with a knife, stick in a popsicle stick to make an easy holder. Other options include peeled Cuties, bags or cups of washed grapes or small, “lunchbox size” apples. Be sure to provide wet wipes for sticky hands.
Sometimes it’s just easier to pick up a box or two of prepackaged snacks. This also allows parents of kids with food allergies or intolerances to read the packaging and make sure the snack is safe. He and She Eat Clean offers up a great list of healthier snacks available at Costco. With fun foods like Boom Chicka Pop, Organic Gogo Squeez variety packs and Annie's Organic Fruit Snacks, your athletes won’t be disappointed.
Cheerios Heart Healthy Trail Mix
Trail mix is always a go-to, healthy team snack idea after exercise. But if there are any kids with nut allergies on your team — and there probably will be — store-bought mixes often contain nuts and M&Ms, both of which are no-nos for nut allergies. (Even chocolate M&Ms are off limits because they are processed with nut-containing ones.) This mix can be adapted with different cereals (Rice Chex instead of Cheerios for gluten-free, for example), and takes only 10 minutes to mix up. Divide portions into baggies and you are done.
Nut Allergy Safe Packaged Snacks
Speaking of nut allergies, this nut-allergy mom rounded up a list of nut allergy-safe snacks. These individually packaged foods can be bought in bulk and are an oh-so-easy time saver if you don't have time to cut up fruit or prepare a homemade snack.
Show Your Team Colors
This is a spirited team snack idea from the blog Confessions of a Sports Mama. She chose a color theme to go with her team colors: orange. She put a snack and an orange Gatorade in an orange bag and added a “Way to Play” label. You can use your team colors to recreate these by choosing a beverage and/or snack in the team colors. Package it up in a clear bag or paper lunch bag for easy distribution. You can grab the printable label download from the blog.
If you have some time, you could put all of the snacks and drinks together into cute robots. The drink box becomes the body, add “feet” by taping raisin boxes on the bottom of the box and then top with an upside-down applesauce or fruit cup. Add a spoon if desired. To assemble you can use Glue Dots or a strong tape like clear packing tape. Add on googly eyes or draw them on with a Sharpie. Arms are optional.
Don’t forget the drinks
After the athletes have drained their water bottles during the game, a different beverage will be appreciated. Chocolate milk is great for refueling, boasting eight grams of protein per 8-ounce bottle. Horizon Organic sells shelf-stable chocolate milk in packs of six, 12 and 18 servings, perfect for a team.
Smaller-sized Gatorade or Powerade bottles are classic sports drinks that kids love. If you are looking for something on the less sugary side, try Juicy Juice Splashers Organic Fruit Punch or Honest Kids Organic fruit juices. Both of these have less sugar and more Vitamin C than other juice boxes. Check out this guide to healthiest and unhealthiest juice boxes for kids.