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Snack hacks for parents of young athletes

October 25, 2016 - TCO

Snack hacks for parents of young athletes

We know kids can be picky eaters, but young athletes need to keep their tanks filled with healthy meals and snacks before and after exercise. Healthy snack recipes for young athletes generally include high-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, low-fat snacks are effective at supplying energy and fuel for the young athlete’s brain and body.

Of course, we know that most parents are strapped for time and trying to be as wise with their spending as possible. That’s why we’ve identified four “snack hacks” for parents of young athletes. With just a little bit of planning and some minimal prep, you can save a lot of money and provide your young athlete with wholesome snacks they’ll actually enjoy eating.

In order to be considered a sports snack hack, the recipe must:

  • Taste great
  • Provide nutritional value
  • Require little or no preparation
  • Cost only about $1-$2 per serving

1. The Skinny Elvis

The Skinny Elvis

According to, the Skinny Elvis is a high-calorie, high-protein snack for young athletes that NFL Combine athletes eat to fuel up and build muscle. Here’s their recipe (and video):

  • 1 peeled, sliced banana
  • 3 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1 Kind bar (or DIY granola is fine, too!)
  • 1 large tortilla

Spread the peanut butter, slice the banana and crumble the bar/granola on top of the tortilla. Roll like a burrito. Enjoy.

2. FAVE Kebabs
Fave Kebabs

There’s no denying Minnesotans love food on a stick; it’s in our State Fair DNA.

Why not put FAVE (Fruits And VEggies) on a stick? Buy whatever fruit and vegetables are on sale at the grocery store, pick up some skewers and build your masterpieces. Short skewers work nicely, so they can fit into smaller containers and lunch bags and provide perfect healthy snacks for kids.

Experiment with different inexpensive options and see if you can create a perfect mix your family loves:

  • “The Gopher”: Raspberry, banana, raspberry, banana, …
  • “The Big Blue Ox”: Blueberry, blueberry, grape, blueberry, blueberry, grape, …
  • “The Northern SPike”: Honeydew, green pepper, green grape, celery, Granny Smith apple, …

Here’s a guide of when Minnesota fruits and vegetables are in season (and usually on sale)




What in the world is GORP? It’s actually just an acronym for “good old raisins and peanuts,” but it goes by another, more common name: trail mix.

Making your own trail mix in bulk can provide a delicious, healthy snack for up to several weeks. Since most trail mix recipes include nuts, here’s a nut-free trail mix recipe from Good Cheap Eats we’re sure all of the nut-allergy parents out there will appreciate!

  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup banana chips
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks (optional but delicious)
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup pepitas
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container in a cool place.

Makes 8 servings. Takes 5 minutes. Costs less than $5.

For more great recipes, here are 21 healthier trail mix recipes to make at home..

4. SmoothEase


OK, forgive us for that corny pun. We could have just said “easy smoothies.” It doesn’t get much easier than tossing some ingredients into the bowl and pressing GO! Plus, who doesn’t love to use their blender that too often stays hidden in the cabinet?

Although the possibilities are endless, and your creativity is encouraged, this is a pretty simple starter recipe:

  • Pour 1 cup of water, low-fat milk or almond milk into blender.
  • Add 1 peeled banana, ½ cup of strawberries (fresh or frozen) and a peeled orange.
  • Blend for a few seconds.
  • Add a handful of spinach and a peeled, chopped carrot.
  • Blend for a few more seconds or until completely blended.

For more great recipes, here are 9 smoothie recipes for athletes on the go.

Sports nutrition in young athletes

The biggest thing for parents to keep in mind is that children aren’t small adults; they have unique dietary and nutritional needs. Every young athlete is different, but in general all kids should be eating well-rounded, nutritional diets and avoiding unhealthy junk food and fast food at all costs. We hope these snack hacks provide helpful guidance towards building a healthy diet for young athletes in your family.

For more serious athletes, Twin Cities Orthopedics partners with Viverant to provide world-class sports performance nutrition programs geared towards athletes motivated to improve performance in their respective sports. The plan covers nutrient timing, hydration demands, macronutrient balance and more.