5 Easy after-school snacks for athletes

Jul 1, 2011 at 10:28 a.m. ET

You know the drill. You pick up the kids after school, then deliver them to practice or a game. After you've cheered on your budding superstar, you head home. If you haven't planned ahead, chances are you'll hear the siren song of fast food when your kids start the "I'm hungry!" chorus before you're even out of the parking lot. Here are a few ideas for quick, tasty -- and good-for-them -- snacks that you can pack.

Athlete child eating orange

Check out these nutritious snacks that are easy to prepare and that will provide the fuel your athlete needs for a great performance. These snacks are perfect on-the-go or at the kitchen counter.

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1Top a whole-grain bagel with peanut butter and honey

The mini size is great for smaller athletes. Use sliced banana in place of the honey as a tasty alternative and a good source of potassium.

2Granola or trail mix

Making your own is fast and easy, and it's also a great way to get your kids involved in making healthy food choices. Let them choose the type of nuts or seeds and dried fruit they like for their own custom blend. You can bring it along in a plastic bag or serve at home with soy or low-fat milk.

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3Whole-grain crackers and cheese

Lots of options here, so let the kids help plan their snacks for the week when you're making your shopping list.

4Whole-grain pita or tortilla with chicken, turkey, fish -- or hummus, veggies and salsa

This makes a well-balanced, filling and delicious snack. They're easy to assemble if you keep the basics on hand.

5FruitS or veggies

What could be easier than an apple, orange or a bunch of grapes? If the weather is warm, try freezing the grapes for a refreshing snack. Carrot sticks, celery, cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes are all fast and easy to toss in a bag for snacking on the road to or from practice. Get your kids involved in the selection. If it's their choice, chances are good they'll eat it!

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Don't forget to keep your young athlete properly hydrated as well. Young athletes are less diligent about staying hydrated and their core temperature during dehydration tends to rise faster. By the time they realize they're thirsty, they are already dehydrated. It's important that you coach them to drink before, during and after the game — even if they say they're not thirsty. Water is the ideal choice. Provide a bottle of water along with each snack. Paired with a snack, such as peanut butter or granola that stimulates thirst, chances are they'll drink without even thinking about it.

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