Over the past year, we’ve had our son play a few different sports. When I say “sports,” I use the term loosely because it’s typically a group of 4- and 5-year-olds running after a soccer ball or basketball. Even though it’s not exactly strenuous activity, I often see parents offering sports drinks to their children when it’s time to rehydrate. 


  The truth is, unless your child is participating in a moderate- to high-intensity sport that lasts longer than 1 hour, water is the only beverage needed to replace fluid lost from activity. Water should be consumed before, after, and during activity, and kids should be encouraged to drink whenever they feel thirsty, or every 15 to 20 minutes while on the move. 


  An exception to only needing water to hydrate would be if you notice a white residue on your child’s skin or clothing. This indicates sodium loss and a sports beverage would be warranted. Additionally, if temperature and humidity are high and you notice excessive sweating, this could indicate your child should replenish with a sports beverage, as well. 


  Another thing to keep in mind when you have a child participating in after-school sports is ensuring they get the right nourishment to fuel their activities. Especially when lunch is served early in the day, children need balanced snacks prior to taking part in extracurricular practices and games. 


  Focus on providing options that deliver a mixture of protein and carbohydrates before and after practice. For example, graham crackers with almond butter, a fruit smoothie with Greek yogurt and frozen berries, or a ham and cheese tortilla rollup. This breakfast bar recipe is another portable option that can be packed up and enjoyed later in the day. 


 For sports nutrition recommendations specific to your child, schedule an appointment with a sports dietitian to tailor an individualized eating plan. Visit the Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN) dietetic practice group Website at scandpg.org to learn more.  


Andrea Luttrell is a registered dietitian nutritionist for the Living Well Eating Smart program at Big Y Foods. She can be reached at livingwell@bigy.com or write Living Well, 2145 Roosevelt Ave, PO Box 7840, Springfield 01102. 


Do you have a question on nutrition or healthy eating or want more information or ideas on a related topic? 


Email editor@baystateparent.com and your suggestion could be featured in an upcoming edition of Dishin’ With the Dietitian.



Breakfast Bars

Ingredients


• 1 cup old fashioned or quick oats


• 1 (7-ounce) bag dried fruit of choice 


   (raisins, cranberries, cherries, etc.)


• ¼ cup sugar


• ½ cup shredded unsweetened 


   coconut (optional)


• ¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional)


• ½ teaspoon salt


• ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon


• ¼ cup honey


• 2 tablespoons olive oil


• ¼ cup peanut butter


• 1 tablespoon fat-free milk


• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 


Directions


Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8x8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.


In a large bowl mix together oats, dried fruit, sugar, coconut, walnuts, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.


In a medium bowl stir together honey, oil, peanut butter, milk and vanilla. 


Pour honey mixture over oat mixture and blend until completely coated. 


Pour mixture into prepared pan and press firmly to the edges. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bars begin to brown and turn bubbly.


Remove from oven, let stand 10 minutes, and cut up while still warm. 


Let cool completely before removing from pan. Store in an airtight container. 


Recipe Courtesy of MilkPEP.