School Snacks: The Struggle to Make Them Healthy

Lisa Gulley Health Guide
  • Spring sports have come around in my house and this year I have kids playing soccer and football. While I love my kids being involved in sports, I absolutely loathe the “team snack” concept. What used to be orange slices and water bottles has morphed into a post-game sugar bomb.


    Last week the post-game snack for my son’s football team (he is 6) was Oreos, Doritos, and a Caprisun. This is for a game that lasted all of 45 minutes and was at 9am. It made me furious and led to a discussion on Facebook where

    someone actually told me I am “disgusting and selfish” and that I am “ruining my kids memories” because I want to enforce a fruit/water only policy for snack.

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    Really? It is “disgusting” that I prefer kids have a healthy post-snack game and limit themselves to water? If this makes me selfish, then so be it. There is no justification for giving kids a post-game snack of 300-400 calories, not to mention all that sugar.   The Caprisun alone has 16 grams of sugar and 60 calories. It also contains many food dyes which have been shown to affect behavior in kids and adults. (and Gatorade is no better!)


    I’m not sure how the snack food relates to memories, but I would rather my kids remember a great game than the bag of cookies they got afterwards. The only memory this leaves for me is the screaming in my car from my other kids who don’t get a pile of post game junk.


    Another person commented the “post game snack is a reward for the kids, especially the ones that aren’t very good." Since when is it OK to use food as a reward? This is a surefire way to set kids up with an unhealthy relationship to food. How about just the reward of playing a fun game or scoring a few goals? We should encourage the kids to focus on the intrinsic motivation of playing the sport vs. the extrinsic reward of the post-game cookies.


    One parent mentioned the risk of peanut allergies and wants parents to read the labels more carefully. Why not just bring fruit? No label reading required, nor any risk of peanut allergies!


    I certainly let my kids have their fair share of junk food, but I cannot understand why we send a message to kids that junk food after physical activity is acceptable. I certainly don’t refuel after a workout with a bag of chips and a Gatorade. Cookies, chips, and juice are for team parties, not after every single game.

    What do you think? I’d love to hear your opinion of the post game snack!

Published On: April 23, 2014