Good Snacks for Youth Sports

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Registered Dietitian & Media Spokesperson Rachel Wall shares her tips & recipes on KCRG News 9.

School has started and with that comes the beginning of school activities, including youth sports. Sports are a great way for children to get in some physical activity, yet oftentimes they include snacks and beverages that fall flat in terms of nutrition.

Sports drinks are meant to replace sodium and potassium that is lost in sweat when being continuously active for an hour or more or when it is especially hot outside. Otherwise, water works well to keep kids hydrated. We enjoy donuts and other treats occasionally but there are ways to teach kids how to better fuel their bodies for activity.

Here are some snacks ideas for after a game:

  • Small cartons (4-6 ounces) of 100% juice

  • Flavored water

  • Small bags of animal crackers

  • Bananas

  • Orange wedges

  • Whole Grain Cereal Treats (recipe below)

  • Take-Along Trail Mix (recipe below)

Whole Grain Cereal Treats


  • 3 tablespoons margarine or butter

  • 1 package (10 ounces) regular marshmallows (about 40) or 4 cups miniature marshmallows

  • 6 cups whole grain cereal (Cheerios®, wheat flakes, Wheat Chex®, etc.)

  • Nonstick cooking spray


  1. Heat margarine/butter and marshmallows on high in the microwave for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes.

  2. Stir again until smooth.

  3. Add cereal and stir until well coated.

  4. Press mixture into a 9” x 13” pan coated with cooking spray using a buttered spatula or waxed paper. Cut into 2 inch squares when cool.


  • These taste best when served the same day.

  • Add about 1 cup of dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, etc.) along with the cereal to add some color and flavor.

Serves: 24 (2 inch square per serving) | $0.18 per serving

Nutrition information (per serving):

80 calories, 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 55mg sodium, 15g total carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 7g sugar, 1g protein

Take-Along Trail Mix


  • 2 cups unsweetened cereal (such as Cheerios®, Wheat Chex®, Fiber One®, Cracklin’ Oat Bran®, or All Bran®)

  • 2 cups sweetened cereal (such as Honey Nut Cheerios®, Frosted Mini-Wheats®, or Life®)

  • 2 cups small pretzel twists

  • 1 cup dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots, or pineapple) chopped into small pieces

  • 1 cup peanuts


  1. Wash hands.

  2. Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl.

  3. Store in an airtight container in cupboard for about 1 week, or in freezer for several weeks.


  • Dried fruits and nuts are a choking hazard for young children. Make trail mix without dried fruits or nuts for children under the age of 3 to reduce the risk of choking.

  • Measure ½ cup amounts into snack size plastic bags so they’re ready to grab and go.

Serves: 16 (½ cup per serving) | $0.25 per serving

Nutrition information (per serving):

150 calories, 5g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium, 24g total carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 10g sugar, 4g protein

Recipe courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website:

Written by ISU Extension and Outreach Nutrition State Specialist, Jody Gatewood, MS, RD, LD


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