As a kid, I met the end of August with mixed emotions. I was bummed that summer vacation was ending. But I was
psyched about my preseason gymnastics “clinics”—two weeks when I got to spend full days tumbling, mastering new
tricks (and—ugh!—doing push-ups, pull-ups and other exercises included in our “conditioning” routine).
I still remember how much my teammates and I looked forward to our lunch breaks. (Try these healthy
lunches for kids
!) Having burned through our breakfasts, we were hungry.
Now, as a nutritionist, I
how important it was that we refueled with nutritious foods that helped power us through our afternoon
At 2 years and 3 months old, respectively, my sons aren’t yet old enough to go to gymnastics clinics—or soccer camps…or
football “double sessions”—but I’m already thinking of the energy-boosting snacks I’ll pack them, just like the ones my mom
packed for me during clinic weeks. Here are some of my favorite power recipes for active kids:
Mini Rice-Cake Stacks:
Filled with peanut butter and bananas, these
rice-cake sandwiches provide a good mix of carbohydrate and protein, both nutrients needed to “recover” from a workout.
Bananas deliver potassium (an electrolyte, the same compound delivered in many sports drinks).
This energy-packed mix contains almonds, dry-roasted peanuts, dried
cranberries, chopped dates and chocolate chips. Customize it with your favorite dried fruits and nuts.
Almond-Honey Power Bar:
This delectably chewy homemade energy bar
includes roasted nuts and seeds, almond butter—and slower-digesting oats for long-lasting energy.
Ready in just 5 minutes, this homemade smoothie
is full of fruit, which delivers antioxidants, compounds that protect the body from free-radical damage (which increases with
vigorous physical activity).