nutrition bite 004 - back to school nutrition for young athletes & adolescents


School is back in session, and that means school recesses & lunches are in the thoughts of parents. To the kids, lunchtimes are better known for running around playing sport, playing jokes on friends, and running to the canteen line to grab one of the chicken burgers on offer (at least for me it was...) Parents always wonder & ask what they should be packing in their kid's school bags for their snacks and lunches - so here's our true NO BS approach to all things school and eating

Imagine yourself back at high school... It's lunchtime and you open your bag to see what Mum or Dad have packed for you...

Does this scenario bring back thoughts of happiness or thoughts of disgust? Or, did you spend your high-school lunches in the canteen line...

When it comes to school lunches and snacks, the things we need to remember and focus on are:

  1. These kids are growing and need the energy to run around, concentrate in class, and prep themselves for their afternoon sport
  2. It needs to be convenient for their parents to prepare & for them to eat
  3. It needs to be something they're going to be happy eating and not want to throw in the bin (making their friends envious is the real MVP here)

So, how do we go about ticking one, two, or all three of these boxes off? Easy, we keep in simple

The kids need higher carbohydrate options to help fuel brain and body, as well as keep energy levels high going into the afternoon. The key is here is to utilise complex carbohydrate sources to minimise the chances of a "sugar crash"...

We're going to need protein to help aid in recovery and proper growth. We're going to need to pack some vitamins and minerals into the day as well, and also keep it convenient 

But don't stress. We're not going to condone carrot and celery sticks in this article, we're going to keep it realistic ;)


Snack Idea's

  • Fruit of all kinds
  • Muesli Bars - preferably made of a wholegrain base or yoghurt added as these will minimise the use of unwanted additives and the yoghurt will add protein. Carman's do a phenomenal range of muesli bars, including a range that's higher in protein via the use of more nuts & seeds - plus, they're freaking delicious
  • Yoghurt - there's a phenomenal new range called "YoPro", which is a higher protein content yoghurt. Any style of yoghurt of any flavour will get the job done however
  • Single Serve packs of trail mix, dried fruits, nuts, and/or seeds
  • Muffins or Sweet Cakes
  • Peanut Butter and cruskits or similar
  • Cruskits or similar with cheese and tomato or veg of your choice
  • Milk - flavoured or non-flavoured from the canteen


Lunch Idea's

At lunch, we recommend either 1 to 2 wraps or sandwiches with additional "snack" choices added in. When it comes to the sandwiches or wraps, make them with your preferred choice of salads and add a protein source of your choosing too - think tuna, chicken, deli meat- and cheese. In addition to this, feel free to add any of the above snack ideas to increase the calories and energy

That's it. Simple and effective. The key to take home from this article is to not stress about it too much. As a parent, you're probably already doing a phenomenal job, and possibly one to two small tweaks need to occur. The intention should needs to be around giving them things they enjoy that will help them with their concentration and energy levels so that they go into their afternoon training fresh and full of life :)

One thing we recommend to aid in minimising time & stress when it comes to snacks and lunches, is to find out what your child enjoys - and then planning the week so that you know what's needed and what can be prepped in advance

Nick Maier