Juggling meals with practices and games can feel like trying to run an obstacle course in your bunny slippers, but pre- and post-exercise foods are important. A pre-exercise meal helps to prevent hunger and supplies energy to working muscles, while a post-activity meal assists with muscle recovery.
It’s a good rule of thumb to have kids eat 2 hours before exercise. You’ll want to focus those meals around carbs, moderate protein, low-fat foods and fluids. Try a vegetarian chili, or fruit, cereal with milk, and yogurt.
Then, 30 minutes after the practice, class or game, children should consume a high-protein snack, like our Nut-Free Energy Bites (included in our new book, The School Year Survival Cookbook) or these healthy no-bake snack balls. After 1 or 2 hours, follow up your snack with a high-carbohydrate, moderate- protein meal to help continue muscle recovery. Reach for foods like chicken, fish, meat, cheese, yogurt or legumes. (Here are the healthiest beans you can eat.)
Although this is an ideal schedule, realities (like bedtimes) may require some commonsense adjustments.