By Lauren Lim
I remember the first time I signed up to bring game day snacks for my daughter’s basketball team. She was only in kindergarten, and we were not provided with any guidelines about what kind of snacks were expected. I wondered how much food to bring and what snacks would both appeal to the kids and be approved by their parents. In addition, because food allergies among children have become so prevalent (including with my own kids), I knew that careful consideration should be given to what kind of snacks we brought for her team.
Fast forward about six years, and our family has brought snacks for countless basketball games for my daughter and for soccer games for my son. I now feel qualified as a self-proclaimed “expert” on youth sports game day snacks.
Here are some tips:
- Before the season starts, make sure the whole team is aware about any food allergies that any of the players may have. These days, it is safer to adopt a general “nut-free” guideline regarding snacks, as many schools have done. The coach or team parents should let the team know about any allergies when they are taking sign-ups for snacks.
- Try to look for snacks that are pre-packaged (to avoid inadvertent contamination), such as FreeYumm bars and cookies. Whole fruit (tangerine, small apple, frozen grapes), fruit snacks, popcorn and pretzels are some of our go-to allergen-friendly snack ideas.
- Avoid snacks that will melt or go bad in the heat of the day.
- A chilled fruit juice drink is usually appreciated by kids (although some parents may want to just stick to water). Be aware that some children may be allergic to artificial colors found in some drinks.
- Do not go overboard in providing a large quantity of snacks per child. Yes, kids do burn calories while running around the court or field, but snacks should be snack-size, not meal-size.
- It is always appreciated (but not necessary) to bring a few extra snacks and drinks for hungry little siblings that have had to sit on the sidelines during the entire game.
- Remember, if you are a parent of a child with allergies on a youth sports team, it is ultimately your responsibility to double-check the snacks that are given to your child. Often times snacks are provided in a brown paper lunch bag and it is easy for the child to just start eating the snacks in the back of the car on the way home without parental supervision. Make sure to check ingredient lists!
For many kids, snacks are one of the best “perks” of participating in youth sports. While allergies need to be taken seriously, they do not have to ruin the fun.
Short Bio: We are the Lim family, living the suburban life in Orange County, California. We started LimByLim back in 2006. Over the years, it has evolved into a space where we share about our travels, local events, product reviews, giveaways and more. Join us on our joy-filled journey! www.limbylim.com