Sports fields are bustling with activity. Soccer balls, nets, baseballs and bats have come out of storage. New cleats are purchased and lines are painted on the grass.

As a nutritionist and mom, I have a few thoughts about re-hydration and re-fueling during and after the game.

Re-hydration:

Most often, water is the best source of re-hydration. When physical activity has been intense for a period of 60 minutes or more is when your child’s body may need a little more replenishing.

Sports drinks are filled with artificial colours, flavours & sweeteners or refined sugar. Some bottles top out at nearly 9 teaspoons of sugar! The World Health Organization recommends no more that 3-4 teaspoons of sugar daily for a child up to the age of 8. For children 9 and above, we use the adult recommendation which is no more than 6 to 9 teaspoons of sugar daily. With one 591 ml bottle of a commercially prepared sports drink, you are either exceeding or maxing out the daily recommendation. Think it is better to skip the sugar and rely on artificial sweeteners? Think again, the use of these substitutes have been implicated in weight gain, migraines and nausea. Another common question I hear is about chocolate milk. Here is the scoop, 1 cup of chocolate milk has 4.25 teaspoons of refined sugar in it! Again, the younger child has exceeded the recommended amount with just one glass.

Keep it simple & offer water. If you feel that your child requires a sports drink I suggest making your own by diluting 1part 100% fruit juice with 2 parts water and adding a dash of sea salt. Some athletes use coconut water as well. Instead of chocolate milk, offer a plain glass of milk which has the same amount of protein as chocolate but without any refined sugar. Add in a banana and you’ve got a great snack that is both a source of protein and carbohydrate.

The issue of refueling can get a little complex when training for intense sport is involved. If your child is in this category, it is wise to seek professional counsel to make sure you are on the right track.

Refueling:

Here are my favourite post sport snack tips for rec leagues. Remember to take into account any allergy restrictions on your team. Avoid refined sugars, artificial flavours & colours. After all, most children are heading to bed shortly after getting home. Look for whole food options whenever possible.

  • watermelon
  • blueberries
  • banana & melon kabobs
  • strawberries & plain yogurt for dipping
  • orange slices
  • carrot sticks & hummus
  • cucumber slices & cheese
  • frozen grapes

What are some of your best snack ideas that you bring out for the team? Please share below!

Enjoy cheering on your favourite athletes!