Healthy After-Sports Snacks for a Winning Athletic Program

chips, bean dip, salsa, and bell-pepper sticks make a healthy, plant-based snack for after sports copyright 2015 CookforGood.com

Feed your hungry young athletes nourishing, plant-powered snacks that welcome everyone and help them get ready for the next game. This Fiesta Bowl centers around gluten-free corn chips for scooping up fat-free refried beans or salsa. Bell peppers provide color and crunch with or without dip.

Include other crispy vegetables that match your budget and, if possible, your school colors such as white cauliflower florets, orange carrot sticks, or green celery sticks. Add guacamole for healthy fat to fuel growing youngsters. Make it into a meal by serving taco shells instead of chips.

Dr. Brian Wansink of Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab told me that his research shows kids eat food with fun names, particularly ones tied to their sports teams or schools. Call your version the Fighting Furies’ Fiesta Bowl or the Scrumptious Spartans’ Dip Station.

Suit your schedule and budget

  • Make it easy: use canned refried beans made without lard, bottled salsa, and packaged guacamole. Get pre-cut veggie dippers from the produce section or salad bar.
  • Make it thrifty: make refried beans from dried beans, using corn or sunflower oil instead of lard. Make your own salsa, veggie dippers, and guacamole.

Get other ideas for healthy snacks in my other posts this week for DrGreene.com. I’m honored to be able to share ideas for that will help us welcome everyone to group events by serving healthy, plant-based food.

Want thrifty, lean protein? Go veg!

Vegetables are loaded with muscle-building protein. Spinach is half protein by calorie, according to the USDA. Collards, kale, and broccoli are all about one-third protein, more than pinto beans and black beans which are about one-quarter protein. They also provide calcium for strong bones, particularly cooked collards and pinto or black beans.

In fact, eating vegetables alone might give you too much protein. The Center for Disease Control recommends getting just 10 to 35% of daily calories from protein. Many studies, including a major one in Cell Metabolism, indicate that adults under 65 who eat on the low end of that range tend to live longer and avoid cancer and diabetes. Fortunately, baked white and sweet potatoes are only about 9% protein by calorie. Adding whole grains and fruits will keep your protein levels in the recommended safe zone. Use plant power to help your family train for an active, healthy life.

What sort of snacks do you serve after sports events?

Have you found ways to encourage kids to make healthy choices? Please share your tips and stories with other parents in the comments below. For more recipes, pictures, and tips that will help you welcome everyone by eating plants together, please visit CookforGood.com/drgreene.

Linda Watson

Linda Watson started the Cook for Good project after becoming obsessed with the national Food Stamp Challenge: living on a dollar a meal per person for a week. Her three-week experiment became a lifestyle, the website CookforGood.com, the book Wildly Affordable Organic, and now the Wildly Good Cook videos and teachers' training program. She teaches cooking classes and gives talks on thrift, sustainability, and food justice across the country. You can get more from Linda on Facebook..

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of DrGreene.com. The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or DrGreene.com, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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