It’s official; I am a soccer mom. My 4-year-old son just played in his first soccer game. It is too early to tell if he will be the next David Beckham but he did look pretty cute in his uniform.
He wasn’t the only thing that caught my eye during the game. I also noticed many of the preschool-aged players drinking down sports drinks. My son has had Gatorade before but only occasionally when it is made available by Dad or Grandma. Sports drinks are not bad but they may not be what our youngest athletes need. Sports drinks are basically sugar water with a dash of salt and potassium (which are electrolytes). Electrolytes help retain water and slow the rate of becoming dehydrated. Food and milk contain far more electrolytes than sports drinks. The sugar content in sports drink is almost the same as pop, which makes cavities a concern. As shown in the picture a 20 ounce Gatorade has 9 teaspoons of sugar and regular can of pop has 10-12 teaspoons of sugar.
Nutrition experts agree that sports drinks are designed to be used for athletes who exercise continuously for more than 90 minutes or have heavy sweat losses. For our children, water is a better and less expensive choice to drink during and after exercise. Also, after exercise a well balanced snack or meal would be more nutrient rich choice than a sports drink.
As a soccer mom I have also been assigned the task of bringing team snacks for after the game. Here are some nutritious after game snacks ideas:
Milk – It is actually a great beverage to drink after practices and games. It is a great source of protein, carbohydrates, and potassium (an electrolyte).
Trail Mix – including cereal, popcorn, dried fruit, and peanuts
Fresh fruit – Such as melons, apple wedges, orange slices, bananas. Cleaned, cut, and put into separate cups or baggies.
Go-Gurt – yogurt in tubes
String cheese and whole grain crackers
Peanut butter and crackers – First make sure no children have peanut allergies.