When you bring your child to a martial arts class, you know they’re going to get a good workout and burn off some energy. Kids who are young athletes — and that’s a descriptor that applies to kids who study the martial arts, even if they’re not training for “sport” — need the right fuel for their bodies before and after a workout.
A lot of parents ask us what their kids should eat before a martial arts class. Here are some suggestions for healthy snack foods to give your kids before class.
Whole Grain Toast and Peanut Butter
Whole grains contain more fiber than refined flour and that makes whole grain bread or toast an ideal pre-class snack for kids. The combination of whole grains and peanut butter provides complete protein because it contains all essential amino acids.
Peanut butter is a source of healthy fat, making this snack one that will keep your child feeling satisfied during their workout.
Greek Yogurt with Fruit
Greek yogurt has more protein than some other types of yogurt and it can be a satisfying pre- workout snack for kids. While some kids might balk at unsweetened yogurt, we would recommend buying plain yogurt and sweetening it with a little honey or agave nectar to make it taste “kid friendly”.
To make this snack even more satisfying, you could add a handful of berries to the yogurt or serve an apple or an orange with it. Fruit is a good source of fiber, which is filling and will keep your young athlete fueled throughout class.
Low-Fat String Cheese and Pretzels
Cheese makes a good pre workout snack because of its protein content. Most kids love string cheese and giving them a low-fat version may feel a little healthier than going with regular string cheese.
Adding a handful of mini pretzels or crackers provides them with additional fuel in the form of carbohydrates, which we all need before we work out.
Turkey and Cheese Wrap
Kids who are coming to a martial arts class after school may need a substantial snack before class. One option is to take a whole grain tortilla or wrap and add some lean protein to it.
Most kids like sliced turkey and combining a few slices of low-sodium turkey with your child’s favorite sliced cheese and topping can give them the fuel they need before their workout.
Cereal with Milk
If your child is a picky eater, then it’s essential to find snacks that they will enjoy. In my experience, even picky eaters love a bowl of cereal!
To ensure it’s a healthy snack, choose a low-sugar cereal and add some fruit if your child wants it. Dairy milk is usually a better source of protein than non-dairy milk, but it’s certainly fine to sub out almond milk or oat milk if that’s what you prefer.
Hard Boiled Egg and a Piece of Fruit
Hard boiled eggs are an excellent source of lean protein and can help your child get the nutrition they need before an intense workout.
Adding a piece of fruit, such as a cutie or a handful of grapes, can provide some fiber and give your kid’s body the energy necessary to get through class.
A Yogurt and Fruit Smoothie
It would be hard to find a kid who doesn’t like a milkshake, and that’s what a well-made smoothie can feel like! By combining yogurt with a frozen banana or frozen strawberries, you can provide your child with a filling snack that’s packed with nutrition. You can add a scoop of protein powder if you want to make it even more filling.
The great thing about smoothies is that they’re portable, too. If you need to pick your child up from school and drop them off for a class, bringing a smoothie in a portable cup could be the snack solution you need.
Eating before an intense martial arts workout is a must for young athletes, since they need fuel for their bodies and minds. These pre-workout snacks, made with foods that kids love, will ensure they have the energy they need.