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Home | Blog | (Gluten-Free Family Life) Snacks for . . .

(Gluten-Free Family Life) Snacks for Sports
Elizabeth Carroll
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© Galina Barskaya |
© Galina Barskaya |

October 3, 2012

Ahhh, fall. The smell of leaves, campfires, and the sounds each weekend of children playing football, soccer, and other sports with parents cheering wildly. It is a wonderful time of year.  

Like so many things, children's sports seem to be accompanied by food -- either as a “treat” after the game or, during long duration sports, like swim or cross country meets, as a nutritive necessity.  

When you are preaching healthy habits to young, emerging athletes, it seems very silly to offer them donuts, chips, and cookies as a reward for finishing a game. Yet, most of the time, that is what is offered. And, while most parents would prefer oranges or apples to be offered, it seems there is a little bit of not wanting to be “that Mom”--- the one that offers the healthy snack.

So, what is a family of a child that doesn't eat gluten to do? In this case, we have not asked the other parents to provide gluten-free treats when it is their turn to bring the snack -- the season is short and the players always change. Sometimes we are lucky -- the snack is gluten-free; sometimes, my daughter is the beneficiary of that extra effort and generosity to buy her a similar gluten-free treat; and, sometimes she goes without. When it is our turn, we typically bring the large bag of Frito-Lay snack size chips -- there are often two or three varieties that are gluten-free in the assortment.

My children also swim competitively most of the year. Have you ever been to an age-group swim meet? Like cross-country meets, they can last almost four hours! When you add in driving time, it is quite a time consuming sport! Snacks or meals are important from a nutrition standpoint, so the kids can fuel their bodies. We have packed a cooler with fruit, sandwiches, sport drinks, and milk. Two of my recent favorite things to pack, however, are Gopicnic meals and the new Nature Valley Protein Chewy Bars.  


The Gopicnic meals are nutritious, do not need refrigeration, and are small enough to put in a child's sport bag. Not all Go Picnic meals are gluten-free, but we have really enjoyed those that are. The Nature Valley Protein Chewy Bars were a delight for me to find. The bars come in Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate and Peanut, Almond, and Dark Chocolate flavors. They are affordable, unlike many protein bars, typically priced about $2.00 to $4.00 per box of five. Each bar has 10 grams of protein and only 6 grams of sugar. They are delicious too! Nature Valley does not label these bars as gluten-free, but the ingredient list does not contain gluten.    
With a little shopping, it is always possible to find affordable and healthy snacks for young athletes who are on the gluten-free diet. And now, they also have several notable athletes, such as Dana Vollmer, to admire who also follow the diet -- what an inspiration!!

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