Just because your kids may not be sweating outdoors, they still lose important electrolytes while playing any sport. While sports drinks like Gatorade are a quick fix, whole foods are a much better choice. Drinks, chews, etc. can be filled with hidden sugars, colorings, and many contain gluten, so it can be really difficult to distinguish a ‘good’ source of fuel from one that is full of stuff that you should try to avoid. The big 5 (in terms of electrolytes) are sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Here are a few suggestions for each of the 5 essentials:
Sodium: Salt definitely is something that needs to be consumed in small amounts, but when one sweats, it’s the first nutrient to go. A great suggestion to re-fuel can be a small bagel or a few crackers with peanut butter, a few chunks of low fat cheese, and soup always makes a great post-workout meal (just stay away from the high-fat cream varieties).
Chloride: Chloride, a cousin of salt, is highly prevalent in the average American diet, but don’t reach for the bag of chips! A much better alternative is a whole food source like olives, rye bread or crackers, lettuce or tomatoes. Try some rye crackers with cream cheese for a great on the go nosh.
Potassium: Bananas are a great form of natural potassium. Beans, avocado, spinach/kale, and sweet potatoes are also great potassium power houses. Try a banana with peanut butter and a few mini chocolate chips, or a baked sweet potato topped with corn, black beans, a little salsa and cheese.
Calcium: Milk is not the only form of calcium! Try plant based beverages like almond or soy varieties, smoothies made with a handful of baby spinach, or even some yogurt with granola.
Magnesium: Like calcium, magnesium helps replenish necessary nutrients that bones and muscles need to recover, and it also helps to fight long term fatigue. Great sources of magnesium include nut or sunflower seed butters, whole grains, or leafy greens. A great post- exercise option is a bowl of oatmeal made with plant milk, a tablespoon of nut butter and a sliced banana or handful of berries.
And don’t forget to play around with different combinations! Smoothies, yogurt parfaits, and mini- meals are great ways to incorporate healthy snacks so your kids have the energy to #getupandgo