Karate on Friday at 5 p.m., figure skating from 12 noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, hockey on Sunday morning 6.30 a.m.… ouch ouch ouch! We love them our children! I also experienced as a child and now as a mom, what many parents go through all year round… the challenge of getting to their activity on time is doubled by the challenge of planning their meal and snack. around their sport!
Some practical tips to plan meals
First, you probably have your child’s activity schedule (s) ahead of time, which should allow you to plan meals for those busier days / evenings. Before shopping for groceries, choose a few recipes for a variety of main dishes while keeping meals simpler or can be cooked ahead for active days.
Here are some very simple meal ideas that are always convenient when you return from a lunch or dinner time activity:
- Pasta with bolognese sauce and vegetable salad
- Vegetable and lentil soup, crackers and sardines or tuna
- Chicken, cheese and pepper fajitas
- Omelette with vegetables and cheese and toast
- Couscous, chickpeas, feta and vegetable salad
On the other hand, give your child a good snack at least 1 hour before their physical effort:
- Offer snacks from two or more food groups (for example, a combination of yogurt and fruit or a homemade muffin and milk.
- Bring healthy snacks with you to avoid the temptation to buy less nutritious foods when you are on the go.
- Limit processed foods that are low in nutrients and high in salt, fat, sugar, or caffeine (commercial cookies or muffins, chips, chocolate, candy, soda). If your child wants something sweet, offer fresh, frozen, mashed, or canned fruit.
- Add snacks to your grocery list so you always have healthy choices in the fridge or pantry.
- Pre-bake homemade bars, muffins or banana bread that you can freeze.
For very early morning activities, I always suggest dividing lunch in half, i.e. the easily digestible foods (high in carbohydrates) before exercise and the rest after:
BEFORE THE ACTIVITY
- Oatmeal cooked with milk and berries
- Cereals with milk and banana
- Vanilla Greek Yogurt
- Drinkable yogurt
- Smoothie with soy drink, frozen fruit and yogurt
- Apple sauce
AFTER THE ACTIVITY
- Peanut Butter Toast
- Eggs and toast
- Pancakes with fruits and maple syrup
- Cheese omelette
- Bagel with egg, ham and cheese
- Almond butter and banana tortillas
Either way, kids don’t always have to eat at set times, but it’s especially important to provide them with good, nutritious meals and snacks often throughout the day, especially when they’re active!