Fueling Early Morning Sport Practices

Many schools have practices early in the morning to beat the August heat! The challenge is that many kids have trouble eating before early morning workouts, which can leave them feeling tired when they hit the field, court, or weight room. And the end result? Not performing their best.

Giving your kids a dense, nutrient-rich snack of carbs and protein with some fluid will give them the energy to get to and through their workout. They might have to start with eating a small amount and work up to eating more, but just like they go to practice to get stronger and faster, they can learn how to eat more pre-workout too. They just have to practice. Here are 5 fueling pre-workout snacks for early morning workouts:

  1. Old School PBJ: Peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread/bagel can help give your kids a morning boost! Whole grain bread provides complex carbohydrate whereas jelly/honey provides a quick burst of simple sugar. Peanut/almond butter provides healthy fat and protein to help them have steady energy over the course of the workout.
  2. Protein Bar: For kids that have a finicky stomach, a protein bar can be a great choice as it typically does not sit “heavy” on their stomachs. Choose a bar with 30-45 gm carbohydrate, 8-15 gm protein and 0-8 gm of fat and lower in fiber. Pre-workout a nut-only bar may not be a good choice as it will be lower in carbohydrate so look for a higher carbohydrate bar for morning energy.
  3. Trail Mix: Trail mix that has nuts, dried fruit and whole grain granola can be a quick easy choice providing carbs, protein and healthy fat for less bites. Trail mix is dense in calories so you don’t have to eat as much. Buy a ready-made mix or let your kids make their own; trail mix is a quick snack on the way to the workout.
  4. Nut-Free Snack: For kids that can’t eat nuts, trying something like a whole grain granola bar and beef jerky can be a good carb-protein choice. A lactose-free protein shake made with whey protein powder, fruit, honey, ice and water can be another good pre-workout choice.
  5. Homemade energy bites: The basic energy bite recipe of 1 cup oats, ½ cup nut/seed butter, ½ cup protein powder or non-fat dry milk powder and ½ cup honey rolled into little balls is a game changer for early morning workouts. It’s quick, easy and your child doesn’t have to eat but a few of them for adequate fuel. Plus, you can change them up by adding nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut and even something sweet like chocolate chips.

Add 16-20 oz water or sports drink to this snack to help hydrate them. You can also add a piece of fruit to the above snacks if your child feels like they can eat both. Fruit provides carbohydrate, nutrients and fluid.