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Team sports are foundational for youth. They’re opportunities for younger kids to get exercise, develop motor skills, make friends, and work together. For older kids, team sports hone specific physical abilities, ignite passion, and build character and confidence. For all youth, team sports instill lifelong habits that set the stage for future success in life.
As youth sports have become normalized in the US, so have the expectations of what we feed our kids and how they eat. One factor that plays into the current junk food and drive-thru culture is time. Parents are busy and constantly pulled in different directions. Even the best intentions to prepare healthy snacks and meals can be derailed by lack of time and convenience.
That’s why Allison Maurer, MS, RD, CSSD, is passionate about working with youth and parents to help them better understand the impact of food as fuel for kids who play. Allison is Associate Athletic Director of Student Health and Wellness at Knoxville Catholic High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. She previously served as Director of Sports Nutrition for the University of Tennessee Athletic Department and the Pittsburgh Pirates MLB and MiLB Clubs. “Because eating healthy is almost impossible to do 100% of the time,” Allison says, “we need to reframe how we see food. We need to be conscious and intentional about what we eat and think in terms of fueling our bodies.”
For youth team sports, the Honey Stinger Team Sports Pack is ideal: it’s convenient and packed with deliciousness. The pack provides enough for everyone, consisting of three boxes of Organic Waffles (Honey, Vanilla, and Short-Stack) or two boxes of Organic Energy Chews (Fruit Smoothie and Pink Lemonade). Waffles and chews are perfect for kids before or during a game or practice. Utilizing honey and other natural sweeteners as the energy source (or carb) means you’re choosing a fuel that absorbs quickly and sustains energy without the crash that comes from refined sugars. These products provide enough energy to sustain athletes for practice, but they aren’t so filling that kids don’t have room for their next meal.
In her work, Allison often sees chips and cookies given as snacks after youth competitions. These options are high calorie fillers that over-feed and under-nourish. They’re key to creating a cycle of being full at mealtimes and hungry when the food that’s available is likely less nutritious.
Another factor that plays into our expectations of what’s acceptable to feed our children is knowledge. “There’s a subconscious buy-in to media messaging and myths,” Allison explains. “Our children don’t need to consume the same quantities or exactly the same foods as professional athletes do.” While a professional athlete may need a packet or more of energy chews per workout, Allison recommends kids eat a few chews before a game and a few during halftime if they feel like they need a boost. “Chews are quick acting carbs that provide energy when you need it.”
Allison is a strong proponent of Honey Stinger’s product-wide Prepare, Perform, and Recover model as an approach to choosing specific types of fuel. “These categories make people think about timing—when we require energy and how our bodies expend it relative to exercise,” she says. It helps us understand that bodies go through unique physical phases before, during, and after exercise.“Instead of asking kids what they’re going to eat,” Allison adds, “I like to ask: what’s your fuel source going to be?”
Fuel up today with the Team Sports Pack. Only from Honey Stinger: