Today I’d like to talk to you about some healthy snacks for your young athletes. Healthy No Bake Oatmeal Energy Bites are featured at the bottom of this post. But first let’s take a minute to talk about our youth athletics. Football in America is serious business. In South Carolina, our youth football league starts as young as 6 years old and cheer squad starts at 5 years old. My daughter told me, out of the blue at 4 years old, that she waned to be a cheerleader when she grew up. I had no idea that she even knew what a cheerleader was – but she was able to successfully demonstrate and convince me that she did. So this year, we enrolled her into our local recreational department cheerleading squad along with youth tumbling and gymnastics so she could train. She absolutely loves it. The cheerleading camps start practicing in June for the Fall football season which begins in August and runs through November each year.
But even before we ever even get into fall ball, we first have to make it through the oppressive heat of our summer practices. Let me tell you that summer in South Carolina is H-O-T, hot! Our average temperatures over the course of the summer are about 85°F (early June) to 105°F (August) with a “real feel” of 95°F to 115°F. And the bugs, well the bugs around the wooded areas that surround our football fields are R-E-L-E-N-T-L-E-S-S. So aside from sunscreen, which everyone should wear to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays and for us, and bug repellent to protect you from biting, flying, creepy-crawlies, our sideline gear may be a little different from your average youth football league to accommodate the extreme temperatures we encounter during summer cheer practice and fall football games. So when Vocalpoint and Dick’s Sporting Goods® sponsored some of our new cheer gear, we were E-C-S-T-A-T-I-C! That being said, regardless of who sponsored our new sideline gear, all opinions expressed here about the gear we purchased are still our own.
Shade at our football facility is a commodity. So we bring our own with a portable pop up canopy with us to the practices and games. Secondly, if you’ve ever, and I mean E-V-E-R sat on a set of metal field bleachers then you know exactly how U-N-C-O-M-F-O-R-T-A-B-L-E they are! So to go along with our portable shade, we bring Folding Camp Chairs . Then to keep ourselves and our girl hydrated, we’ve invested in these Hydro Flasks.
If you have not already heard about Hydro Flasks, let me first say they are WONDERFUL and a must-have piece of sideline gear! We purchased ours at our local Dick’s Sporting Goods. The folks at our local store were so friendly and helpful. So when I went in describing what I was looking for, the gal was able to lead me to the exact product I was looking for on the shelf. Anyway, these amazing flasks keep your drinks C-O-L-D, cold and refreshing for 24 hours with ice. I mean to say that after 24 hours, there is still ice in the flask. How often you refill the flask will, of course, determine your overall ice melting rate. But for example, I filled my flask with ice and water, had it out in the heat all day at the field, brought it home and left it on the kitchen counter. The NEXT day, the flask still had plenty of ice and the water was cold. It’s truly a must-have for sporting events. As a side note, I have filled the Hydro Flask with coffee (holds 3 cups) and brought it along to early morning practices. It keeps my coffee hot for 6 hours — not that coffee usually lasts that long. We’ve now bought one for every member of our family and have recommended them to our extended family, friends, and co-workers. My husband takes his to work and keeps it on the fire truck. There’s nothing better than ice-cold water after battling a blazing fire or the South Carolina heat. At first glance, these Hydro Flasks may seem a little pricey but I’m here to say these flasks are worth the initial investment. They are really awesome.
So after you have all your essential sideline gear ready and packed, what’s the next most important item you need to bring to the field? S-N-A-C-K-S, of course! What do you feed the squad to keep them focused and full of energy for the game? Well, when I’m the squad snack Mom, I like to bring along healthy snacks that the kids also happen to adore like these Healthy No Bake Oatmeal Energy Bites. I’m pretty sure they don’t even realize that they are healthy. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, either. But these quick, no-bake snacks are sweet, chewy, yummy — and filling. They are made with all-natural ingredients and are sweetened with just a touch of honey and a vanilla and spiced with just a hint of cinnamon and fresh nutmeg. My daughter loves them and while they make a great sideline snack for game day, these little gems are also perfect for her lunch box or as and on-the-go breakfast which is most often how I eat them. Since we do have kids with peanut allergies on our squad, we use sunflower butter but you can use peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter or even chocolate hazelnut butter if you prefer. The kids think these are a peanut butter oatmeal cookie and who am I to disagree?
Healthy No Bake Oatmeal Energy Bites
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed
- 1 cup raisins , regular or golden
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 Tbsp raw , unfiltered, organic honey
- 1/2 cup sunflower butter or peanut , almond, or cashew butter
- Into a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, add all the dry ingredients including spices. Mix to combine.
- Next, add the vanilla, honey and sunflower butter and mix to form a rough, sticky dough. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add a little more oats, if it's too dry, a a touch more sunflower butter.
- With a tablespoon, or a one-ounce cookie scoop measure the dough out and roll into rounds.
- Refrigerate to set, store in an air-tight plastic bag or container for up to one week. These may also be frozen.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy, and is sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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