Keeping Sugar Off the Field

Here is a letter I wrote to the Laguna Beach Independent about the sugary snacks parents are bringing to Little League games.

Many local parents have come to me upset about this issue. They feel trapped; some of the parents bringing the unhealthy snacks are their best friends!

My husband told me there were never snacks at his practices and games when he was growing up.

The larger question in my mind is, “Why do we even need to snack these kids?” With all due respect folks, are the kids training hard for over an hour? Are they Olympic hopefuls? If the answer is yes, then by all means…bring snacks. Just make the food healthy.The bottom line is this. Refined sugars found in cookies, bars and candy coursing through your kids’ veins before, during or after a practice or a game is not healthy. What lessons are we teaching kids when we encourage them to be physically active and then give them unhealthy foods to refuel with?

Here is the link:

Here is the article:
Keeping Sugar Off the Field
By Melanie R. Silverman

I am writing this on behalf of the dozens of parents in Laguna Beach that have asked for my advice about an issue involving Little League. I am referring to the snacks parents bring to practices and games.

Candy bars, cookies, sugary juices and sports drinks have become common fare and parents are concerned. Why does baseball have to be a reason to offer snacks to our kids that serve no nutritional purpose?

Kids have plenty of sugar opportunities off the field. High quality snacks should be served on the field. If you are a parent involved in Little League this year or any other sporting event where parents are assigned to bring snacks, I urge you to encourage teams to set a policy that snacks offered to our kids at sporting events are healthy. Parents can provide easy to grab fruit such as apples, quartered oranges and grapes or sliced vegetable trays with carrots, celery, cucumbers and dip. Assorted whole wheat crackers, string cheese and nuts also work. And ask each kid to bring their own water bottle from home.

The vast majority of Little League players do not need electrolyte replacement drinks or fancy bottled waters. Save the sugar for birthday parties where it belongs and let’s show our kids the proper way to fuel themselves after a hard game or practice.

About Melanie Silverman

Melanie is a pediatric registered dietitian nutritionist (RD) and a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) working primarily in pediatric nutrition for well over 15 years. She spent seven years as a clinical dietitian at The University of Chicago Medical Center in the neonatal intensive care unit, pediatric intensive care unit, adult and pediatric burn units, and high risk pediatric follow-up clinic. She also served as an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University Chicago. Melanie has presented at state and national meetings for the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN), March of Dimes, Prader-Willi California Foundation, Texas Prader-Willi Association, Oklahoma Prader Willi Syndrome Association, Foundation for Prader-Willi Research (FPWR) in the United States and Canada and the Prader-Willi Syndrome USA (PWSA). She worked hard for her Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and Spanish from Indiana University and a Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center. A member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, California Dietetic Association, Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group, Women’s Health Group, Nutrition Entrepreneurs and an active member of the International Lactation Consultant Association.