I spent this weekend on the sidelines of soccer fields trying NOT to coach my younger son’s team during their 4 game tournament. (Sub-text: Parents on the sidelines should be careful not be critical during games. And SUB-sub-text, there was no sleeping in this weekend.)
On the sidelines of every child’s sporting events are supportive parents. Many have more than one child so I know they’re busy people. Kudos to all the parents who sacrifice that time for their kid’s development.
But now I have to talk about us.
We need to work on how we’re fueling our athletes. We make sure they do their homework, get to bed on time, and make it to every practice and game. Then it’s our turn to supply snacks for our athletes, and what do we see? Someone stops at Duncan Donuts on the way to the game and plops two dozen in the team huddle.
What are we doing?
The concession stands aren’t much better. Figure 50 teams show up to a weekend tournament. Add parents, siblings, and friends and we’re into the thousands of people in attendance. What’s at the concession stand? Velveeta covered pretzels, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, soda, and deep fried oreos.
Who makes these decisions, you ask? You and I do.
We’re the people who hold the purse strings. We vote with our dollars, and every time we choose low grade, processed “foods” to give the kids, we solidify in their lives what normal is. And this kind of normal is unhealthy.
So I want to give you my two rules for kid’s sports snacks.
Snacks should simply be smaller versions of our meals. So, if at home you eat some combination of protein, carbs and fats at lunch, then snack should be the same (hereby ruling out oreos, soda and donuts). Great options: Yogurts, raw nuts and seeds, fruit, jerky.
For kids sports, snacks should be individually wrapped. Unless you like spraying the doorknobs down, and taking days off due to the kids being home from school I highly recommend this, and it wouldn’t hurt to carry hand wipes in the weekend bag. – Great options: Fruits that require peeling like bananas and oranges.
With these two rules alone, you’ll make a big first step toward further supporting your young athletes and fostering their development.
Good luck, and please let me know how you make out.