Fuel Your Little League Weekend With Healthy Snacks: Score Big With Smart Choices

9-year-old grandson, Colt, is already busy with spring baseball tournaments.  The thrill of watching your grandchild compete in a weekend little league baseball tournament is unparalleled. 

I love it! 

The cheers, the camaraderie, and the excitement are all part of the experience. 

However, amidst the long days of multiple tournament games it’s easy for families to let healthy eating habits slide, especially when faced with the temptation of concession stand classics like hot dogs, nachos, and sugary drinks. 

I watched this first hand a couple of weekends ago. 

But fear not, there is an easy solution. 

With a little bit of preparation and some creativity you can fuel your family with nutritious yummy tasting foods that will keep everyone energized and focused throughout the tournament.

First, let’s pause and talk about why prioritizing healthy eating should be high on your tournament weekend list. 

Prioritize Healthy Eating For The Win

Nutrition plays a crucial role in athletic performance and overall well-being. Proper fueling before, during, and after a game can enhance endurance, strength, and recovery.  This could give your team an edge over your opponents on long hot days. 

Additionally, establishing healthy eating habits early in life sets a positive example for children, instilling lifelong habits that promote optimal health. Another powerful lesson learned from participating in little league. 

Sometimes the hardest part is figuring out what are some healthy food choices that can be packed for a weekend of baseball.  Here are some of my top choices for you to consider.   

Pack Smart: Healthy Food Choices

When packing food for a day at the baseball field, opt for options that are portable (of course), nutrient-dense, and hydrating.

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables: Pack an assortment of sliced fruits like apples, oranges, grapes, and berries for a refreshing and hydrating snack. Try Nutella or “caramel apple dip” for your fruit to be dipped in.  Additionally, carrot and celery sticks with hummus or peanut butter provide a crunchy and satisfying option packed with vitamins and minerals and protein.

Whole Grain Sandwiches or Wraps: Prepare sandwiches or wraps filled with lean protein sources such as turkey, chicken, or tofu, paired with plenty of vegetables and whole grain bread or tortillas for sustained energy.  PB&J is also a good option for lunch. 

Trail Mix: Create your own trail mix by combining nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and a sprinkle of sugar free dark chocolate chips for a satisfying blend of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates.

Hydration Station: Stay hydrated by packing plenty of water and electrolyte-rich beverages like coconut water or homemade fruit-infused water to replenish fluids lost through sweating.  Try to limit your plastic water bottle consumption by buying an old fashioned 5 gallon water cooler that the kids can refill their BPA free water bottles up though out the day. 

Homemade Snacks: Whip up homemade treats like energy balls, granola bars, or mini muffins using nutritious ingredients such as oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit to satisfy cravings without the excess sugar and preservatives found in store-bought snacks.

Here is an energy bar recipe that I like.

No-Bake Oatmeal Energy Bars

These homemade energy bars are perfect for a quick and nutritious snack on the go, whether you’re heading to the gym, the office, or the little league baseball tournament!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats

  • 1/2 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)

  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, or pecans)

  • 1/4 cup dried fruit (such as raisins, cranberries, or chopped dates)

  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)

  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Pinch of salt

Directions

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, chopped nuts, dried fruit, shredded coconut, and chocolate chips (if using). Stir to combine.
  • In a small saucepan, heat the almond butter and honey (or maple syrup) over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth and well combined. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
  • Pour the almond butter mixture over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Stir until all the ingredients are evenly coated and well combined.
  • Line an 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving some overhang on the sides for easy removal later. Transfer the mixture into the prepared baking dish and press it down firmly and evenly using a spatula or the back of a spoon.
  • Place the baking dish in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or until the mixture is firm and set. Once firm, lift the parchment paper to remove the energy bar mixture from the baking dish. Place it on a cutting board and cut into bars or squares of your desired size.
  • Store the energy bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week, or freeze for longer storage.

Notes

  • Enjoy!

Navigating Concession Stand Temptations

While it’s okay to indulge in the occasional treat, try to limit consumption of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods from the concession stand. Here are some healthier alternatives to consider:

Grilled Chicken Wraps: Look for options like grilled chicken wraps or sandwiches instead of fried foods like chicken tenders or corn dogs.  If they don’t have them, start talking to the tournament director about adding healthy options in their concessions.  

Fresh Fruit Cups: Many concession stands offer fresh fruit cups or salads as alternatives to traditional snacks like chips or fries. Again, if they don’t have them, start talking to the tournament director about adding healthy options in their concessions.

Water or Unsweetened Beverages: Opt for water instead of sugary sodas or sports drinks to stay hydrated without the added sugar and calories.

Portion Control: If you’re craving a specific treat from the concession stand, consider sharing it with your family or enjoying a smaller portion to satisfy your cravings without overindulging.

Setting a Healthy Example

As parents and grandparents, we play a pivotal role in shaping our children’s attitudes and behaviors towards food. By prioritizing healthy eating habits at weekend sporting events, we demonstrate the importance of nourishing our bodies for optimal performance and overall well-being.  

Be the team that does that! 

Encourage your children to get involved in meal preparation and decision-making, empowering them to make informed choices about their nutrition.

Conclusion

Attending your kid’s and grandkids weekend little league baseball tournament provides an excellent opportunity to bond as a family while cheering on your young athlete. 

So many great memories are made on these weekends! Wouldn’t you agree?

By planning ahead and packing nutritious snacks and meals, you can fuel your family with the energy they need to perform their best on the field while avoiding the pitfalls of concession stand fare. 

Remember, healthy eating is not just about what you consume during the game but also the habits you cultivate as a family for a lifetime of wellness. 

So, grab your new cooler, pack your healthy snacks, and get ready to enjoy a day of fun, fitness, and wholesome nourishment at the ballpark.

See you there! 

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Picture of Yetta Blair, CFNC, CHCC

Yetta Blair, CFNC, CHCC

Yetta is a certified functional nutrition practitioner, holistic cancer coach and speaker. She studied whole-food, plant-based nutrition with T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. She is a food driven analyst and works with clients to help them use nutrition principles to solve the root causes of their health symptoms. She knows that functional nutrition is the answer to our current healthcare crisis, both for individuals and for society at large, and wants to inform as many people as she can of the power of food to heal. Her promise to clients - if you eat better, you will feel better.