Healthy Snacks for Sports
Did you know?
Providing healthy snacks at sports games gives adults the chance to show children that healthy eating and physical activity are a winning combination.
Children learn about healthy eating at school, but they need support at home and in the community to help put those lessons into action. Well-nourished children can play better for longer, stay more alert and recover more quickly.
Take the actions below to:
- Change the food and eating culture within your team or league
- Show children that healthy eating and physical activity are a winning combination
- Be a role model to show how to fuel activity in a healthy way
- Guide children towards healthy active living
- Support efforts to feed children in a healthy way
What to do with your sports league or team
Review information about nutrition and physical activity in children.
Decide whether to provide team snacks with coaches and parents. If the practice or game is light or close to meal times, you may only need water.
Role model healthy snacking by bringing the first fresh fruit snack. Encourage parents to follow your lead.
Share information on healthy eating and sports with parents.
Write or advocate for a healthy eating policy for your team or league.
Healthy snack policies for sports teams
A healthy snack policy is a clearly written standard that addresses when and what foods and beverages are offered or sold by the team or club at a community sporting event. Setting a clear policy about snacks helps create a healthy eating culture in children’s community sports.
There are benefits of healthy snack policies for coaches and administrators, parents and children.
Benefits for coaches and sports administrators
The benefits for coaches and administrators include:
Shows parents and the local community that the team and league values the health of its members.
Clearly states your team and league’s position about healthy eating.
Shares healthy eating messages that support physical activity and enhance health and sport performance.
Takes the guesswork out of choosing food and beverages for sporting events.
Creates consistency from year to year.
Clarifies expectations of sports administrators, coaches, players and parents.
Benefits for parents
The benefits of a healthy eating policy for parents include:
Healthy food choices offered on a regular basis.
Consistent messages about what to send for sporting events.
Learning about healthy eating through the team, league and their own children.
Support for families who value making healthy choices.
Support for healthy behaviours.
Benefits for children
The benefits of a healthy eating policy for children include:
Increased availability of nutritious foods.
Exposure to positive role models for healthy eating.
Consistent messages that reinforce school learning.
An opportunity to develop skills in making healthy food choices.
Makes the healthy food choice the easier choice.
When developing your healthy snack policy, consider:
- What you want to achieve
- How you will communicate your policy
- How to maximize adherence to the policy
- Who will monitor the policy
- What action to take when the policy is not followed
- How to evaluate the effectiveness of the policy
- How to receive feedback on the policy
- How to prepare the team and league for implementation, including start date
What to include in the policy
What: Provide a summary and elaborate on the details of the healthy snack policy.
Why?: Provide background information and reasons for having a healthy snack policy. Include a statement that clearly explains your team or league's position.
Who?: List who is affected by the healthy snack policy (e.g., members, administrators, officials, coaches, leaders, participants, family, visitors, volunteers).
Where?: List the locations where the healthy snack policy will and will not apply (e.g., the policy applies to group snacks; concession stands; field, gym, ice; practice, games, tournaments; home and away games; the policy does not apply to food families bring for their own consumption).
When?: List the date when the healthy snack policy is in effect.
How?: Outline how you will tell team members and parents about the policy. Outline how you will enforce the policy (e.g., verbal reminders, voluntary compliance).
Questions?: Insert appropriate contact information for questions, follow-up or feedback about the policy.
Make the healthy snack policy a priority
You will need to get, and keep, healthy eating on your organization’s priority list to make it happen. Here are some suggestions on how to do this:
- Add the healthy snack policy to your organization’s board meeting agenda.
- Provide information to committee members about healthy eating.
- Invite a guest speaker to discuss the importance of healthy eating at community sporting events.
- Contact your local public health unit to request a consultation with a registered dietitian .
- Get support from leaders and members by sharing healthy eating policies from other organizations.
Here are some key items for a successful policy:
- Increase support for the policy by involving coaches, parents, children and others when developing it.
- Emphasize the benefits of a healthy eating policy for children, parents, coaches and the organization.
- Provide time for discussion and debate of the first draft with everyone who will be affected (youth, parents, volunteers, and coaches/leaders.) Take time to listen to concerns.
- Make sure your policy is clear and easy-to-read.
- Inform everybody affected by the policy, using clear and consistent promotion.
- Encourage voluntary compliance with the policy by setting an example for players and others.
- Remember that people can and do change their minds if there is resistance.