If you have kids involved with athletics, chances are you’ll eventually take a turn (or a dozen turns) at team snack duty. With four kids, all in a sport or multiple sports during every season, I’ve definitely had some experience in providing team snacks. Let’s face it, I practically have a Ph.D. in feeding teams of children at this point. When it’s my turn to bring the team snack, I try not to bring something that’s prepackaged and highly processed. Prepackaged snacks are often expensive and usually packed full of chemicals and preservatives we can’t even pronounce. You can provide a fun and tasty team snack that didn’t come from a box. These team snacks will be a huge hit for your fall sports!
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1.) Butterfly Snack Bags
These Butterfly Snack Bags can be customized in a variety of different ways. On this particular day, we used grapes, cheese cubes, and pretzels. We usually tie ours with a colored pipe-cleaner cut into quarters to make the antenna. I’ve seen other people online using clothespins. Clothespins are way more expensive than pipe-cleaners if you end up doing this snack a lot. I guess you could reuse the clothespins if you want to track down every kid after they finish off the snack. No thanks! I’ll just keep using the cheap, fuzzy wires instead. You can get what is probably a lifetime supply of pipe-cleaners for around $10 if you like to buy in bulk.
I took these to a cross country meet last weekend. Both the high school team and the junior high team were running at the same invitational. I had kids involved with both teams, so I brought what I thought was plenty for everyone. I really thought these would not appeal so much to the high schoolers. I wondered if the older kids would think they were too cool for Butterfly Snack Bags. I should have known better. Cross country is unlike any other sport. Cross country runners just don’t get that I’m-too-cool-for-this attitude that I sometimes see on other teams. The varsity team actually finished off all the Butterfly Snack Bags while the junior high boys and girls were running their races. They didn’t realize they needed to save any for the junior high. Those were definitely a huge hit with kids of all ages!
I’ve used lots of different food items inside of these through the years, usually depending on what’s been on sale recently. Sometimes we use goldfish crackers instead of pretzels. Sometimes we just use grapes on one side and cheese on the other, or we mix grapes and cheese together on each side. I’ve seen some people just use trail mix and tie it off like a butterfly. You could use cheese and almonds, or pistachios and fruit. Right now I have lots of cherry tomatoes (red, yellow, and orange ones) in my garden, so this week I might do tomatoes and mozzarella or provolone cubes. Carrots and black olives might be nice, or cucumbers and sweet peppers.The possibilities are really endless.
2.) Puppy Chow
I know some people call this Muddy Buddies (I’m thinking Chex cereal gave it that name when they started printing the recipe on the box.), but I grew up calling it Puppy Chow. You can find lots of different recipes for Puppy Chow online. There are whole Pinterest boards dedicated to different flavors of this stuff. And what kind of person would not like Puppy Chow? Not liking Puppy Chow, is like not liking puppies! So of course, everybody loves Puppy Chow.
For ours, we used a 1/2 stick of butter, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of chocolate chips, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 9-10 cups of Aldi brand rice squares cereal, and powdered sugar as needed. Melt the butter and chocolate chips together. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Then add the cereal. Stir until cereal is coated. Then add about a cup of powdered sugar. Once it’s cooled, I add a little more powdered sugar because the first bit tends to melt into it. I believe this snack can be gluten-free. You would need to check each of your ingredients very carefully, but you should be able to make a version of this that does not have any gluten.
We usually add some kind of colorful candy bits for visual appeal. For this batch, we used Reeses Pieces to give it a nice autumn look. At Christmas time, I buy the bag of red and green M&M’s to make it festive. Around Easter you can make this with white chocolate chips and pastel candy bits. If you want to be a really cool snack mom, you could get M&M’s in the school/team colors to makes it very special. Amazon sells the one-color bags of M&M’s. But remember, this gal, put the G-A-L in frugal, so I would probably just buy the cheap, regular bags at Walmart and sit and pick out the school colors by hand instead of paying $12 for a custom color bag.
3.) Monster Energy Bites
These are a family favorite in The House That Never Slumbers. Monster Energy Bites are a great snack to get athletes some protein. Or you could name them according to your team, calling them, for instance, Wildcat Energy Bites. We mix about a 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1/4-1/3 cup of honey (depending on how sweet you want them), 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 1/2-1 3/4 cup of quick oats. Then we add 1/2 cup of some kind of mini chocolate bits. That can be all mini chocolate chips, or all mini-M&M’s, or a mixture of those two. For the ones pictured, we use 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips and 1/4 cup mini M&M’s. If you don’t have the mini chips, just take a knife and chop regular chocolate chips into smaller bits. Those amounts made around 20 bites, so you need to adjust the amounts according to your team’s needs.
You can make these Monster Energy Bites according to your personal preferences or what ingredients you have on hand. You can use crunchy peanut butter if you want them crunchier. You can add a couple of scoops of vanilla whey protein powder, if you want additional protein (may have to add additional liquid like coconut oil to get the consistency right). You can add cocoa powder and a little butter or coconut oil if you want a double chocolate flavor. I once used maple syrup because we tapped our own maple trees that year (had to add a little more oats because it’s thinner than honey). You can add chopped pecans or walnuts or flakes of coconut. You can customize this recipe any way you want, but you may have to adjust dry to liquid ratios to make it work. Whatever you decide to use, you just need to get a consistency that can be rolled into bite-sized balls and placed on wax paper.
If you find yourself measuring peanut butter often, you need to invest in a good adjustable measuring cup. You do not want to keep using a regular measuring cup for peanut butter. That’s just a pain. An adjustable measuring cup lets you push the peanut butter right out of the cup with hardly any scraping and less mess. It’s more economical because you don’t leave all that wasted peanut butter in the crevices of your measuring cup and then have to scrub it out later when you do the dishes. I’m pretty sure peanut butter is not good for your drain either. You can get an adjustable measuring cup like the one below for a very reasonable price. The convenience is well worth the cost here. I have one that is Pampered Chef, and I probably paid too much for it. I’m not sure when I got it, but I was likely at a party one time, and it was the only item in my price range. It’s a very useful product, but I’m pretty sure any brand of adjustable measuring cup will work just as well.
My younger two girls have been making Monster Energy Bites completely on their own for quite a while. They always make them before we travel because they’re a nice snack to take in the van. If we’re driving through the night, some of us tend to have these for breakfast in the morning. They don’t really leave crumbs like a no-bake cookie would, so I definitely appreciate that while traveling. They work equally well for team snacks too. Sometimes when our oldest was playing off-season travel basketball, we would have to wake up super early to drive a few hours away for her games, and these were a nice pre-game breakfast or between-game snack.
These Snacks Hit It Out of the Park!
All three of these great snacks are extremely easy to make. Very young children can whip them up with very little adult interference. They can all be adjusted somewhat to use what you have on hand or the ingredients that are on sale that week. All three are tasty, delicious, and not horribly unhealthy. These fun favorites are sure to be a grand slam with any team. Whoops, we’re supposed to be sticking with fall sports, right? These snacks are sure to be a touchdown with your team!
If you come up with a fun way to customize any of these snacks, share it with us. We would love to hear from you. What are your family’s favorite go-to team snacks?
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