It’s the fall sports season and that means practices and games are here. Football, soccer, swimming, crew, volleyball, field hockey, and more. Kids are out and about, hustling and playing, and parents couldn’t be happier to see their kiddos move, move, move!
But it doesn’t matter which season it is. Almost all games and sports come with a concession stand. Don’t you wish we could have a healthy concession stand?
Currently, many concession stands are stocked with hot dogs, hot chocolate, and hot Cheetos, among other sugary, fatty, and salty fare. Parents and athletes alike are confronted with a myriad of unhealthy options.
Certainly not the breakfast of champions for little and big soccer players, that’s for sure.
As a parent and a nutritionist, I know concession stands need an overhaul.
Or at least a warning sign:
Eat at your own risk.
Food purchased here may not supply the fuel your child needs to play.
Food options may harm your child’s diet.
Warning: Food may be loaded with fat, sugar and more calories than any active child would ever need on game day.
Did you know?
In a study looking at foods available at youth baseball games, 90% of the food eaten at games were purchased from the concession stand. Seventy-three percent of those foods were considered unhealthy. Why? Foods available had too much sugar, fat and calories. In fact, about 72% of the foods qualified as such.
Unhealthy food choices do nothing to help young active children reap the benefits of playing a sport. In fact, concession foods may do more harm than good, leading to unbalanced diets, too many calories and sugar, and even weight gain in some young athletes.
What a young athlete really needs
Unless you’ve got a serious jock on your hands—read: plays hard consistently for over an hour multiple days a week ––your young athlete doesn’t need much more than a piece of fresh fruit and water.
And he may not even need that.
He or she isn’t burning that many calories. Research on youth soccer, baseball, and softball players aged 7 to 14 years tell us that children don’t practice for the allotted practice time, being active for only about 45 minutes (46% of the practice schedule). Game time may be even less.
And, if your little athlete is picking dandelions on the sidelines, he’s not really torching calories at all.
It’s Time to Do Something
Skip the Skittles, dodge the donuts, and steer clear of the soda. If your athlete is hungry after a game, get him home for a wholesome, nutritious meal or snack.
It’s time we demand something healthier for our young athletes.
It’s time we overhaul the concession stands of our youth sports because they aren’t offering up the real fuel young athletes need.
I’ve put together a FREE PDF you can download to help you do just that– build a healthy concession stand.
Tell me, what bugs you about the concession stand?
Read my little story about concessions with my soccer player on Real Mom Nutrition.