Healthy snacks to bring on the soccer field


Being a retired pilot and flight instructor, I love my role of being personal soccer coach to my grandchildren. Watching my grandkids indulge in soccer play makes me proud to be their granddaddy because, in one way or another, there’s always something within each of them that tells me they are unmistakably my grandchildren.

One of my greatest concerns as their unofficial soccer coach is the nutrition they are getting during games. However, from the first game that I supervised for my lovely grandkids until now, I have been happy to have seen good quality soccer snacks in their lunch bags.

There are a variety of packaged snacks on grocery shelves, but most of them are high in fat and sugar content while being deficient from genuine nutritional value. Although soccer snacks should be handy, quick and easy, convenience doesn’t have to compromise on healthy options.

Aside from bananas and orange slices, there are plenty of other healthy snack options that can support the requirements of young soccer players. All that is needed is adequate planning and getting your child to agree with your nutrition plan.

A soccer snack should serve as a mini-meal that enables the young player to get the needed nutrients and energy to play well, learn fantastic soccer moves and focus on the game. It should provide the essential ‘staying’ power to keep the young player full for a longer time during a game or practice, aside from being packed with nutrients.

Hearty mini-sandwiches made out of whole-grain crackers can be topped with a squeeze of lunch meat, peanut butter or cheese. These make quick pick-me-ups for soccer players to munch on during practice.


Ac makes an all-time favorite snack, and it can comprise grapes, cheese and pineapple chunks on skewers. Fruit kabobs have all the nutrition an adult can feel good about while delivering the taste that kids will surely love.

I have also seen how my grandkids love half of the bagels cut into four and filled with strawberry cream cheese or peanut butter and topped with a single slice of strawberry. I prepare my natural homemade trail mix to create that excellent savory and sweet mix packed with all-natural, healthy ingredients to give my wards a satisfying snack.

My grandkids also love honey-roasted almonds, peanuts or cashews as well as raisins or almonds covered in dark chocolate. That’s aside from pumpkin seeds, homemade popcorn and high-fiber cereal.



I also make them some fruit salad with bite-sized crunchy peaches, mandarin oranges, pears or apples, which is always flavorful especially when tossed with just an adequate quantity of wildflower honey.

I have also seen my grandkids snack on frozen yogurt tubes, which make a great grab-and-go snack. Easy to keep cold in a cooler, these can travel quite well. I sometimes bring whole grain fig Newtons drizzled with applesauce. I believe my grandchildren love the apple variety more than the strawberry for their fig Newtons, so I just eat the strawberry ones myself.

Whether my grandkids snack on baby carrots in ranch dressing, hearty banana muffins or low-fat cheese sticks, as long as they are happy and healthy, I am, too. It’s fun being their granddad!


Why I have always loved flying

Even though I am officially retired from flying, I still find myself “up in the sky”. I have kept my pilot’s license current, and part of this requires me to spend so much time in the air. If I ever need an excuse to get back in the cockpit, the simple fact that it is required by law ensures that I don’t have to worry about getting stuck on the ground.


Some people have asked me why I love flying so much, and my standard answer of “I always have” never seems to satisfy them. To finally answer this question, and hopefully never have it asked again I’ve given it a little thought and this is what I’ve decided.


First of all there is the sheer excitement of being in the air. Flying is different than riding in a hot air balloon, regardless of the size of the plane. You are in complete control, not dependent on air currents, and I haven’t even gotten around to mentioning the speed. That is a feeling that simply cannot be described, unless you’ve had the opportunity to sit in the pilot’s seat. Trust me when I say it is addictive, which is probably why I keep finding myself up in the air.


Flying is also incredibly peaceful, especially if you are solo. It is a great time to think and reflect on things that are important. I’ve solved some of the biggest problems in my life when I was flying from one airport to another. No matter where you are flying there are also some incredible views. One of my favorite trips took me over the Grand Canyon, and it is truly spectacular when it is viewed from the air. Sunsets are also amazing, especially when the skies are clear.



Another reason I have always loved flying is its history, which I find fascinating. My hero has always been Charles Lindbergh, along with the Wright brothers. What really amazes me is how far we’ve come in aviation, considering a little over 100 years ago the Kitty Hawk was just taking off. Since then Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart and countless others have set world records and accomplished astonishing feats. I’ve always been proud to be in the same profession as all of my boyhood heros.


So now you know why I have always loved flying, and still do. Even though I am happily retired I still look forward to spending several more years up in the air.

Playing soccer at an old age

Since I’ve retired from flying, though I still occasionally take a plane up for fun, I have started playing soccer with some of my friends. The first thing I want to say is that “yes” you can play soccer at just about any age, you just need to take a few extra precautions.

I am the first to admit that I am not as flexible as I was when I was younger, and it does take me a little longer to recover. I have found that drinking plenty of water and sticking with a low fat diet helps keep my energy levels up, and even my doctor is impressed with the recent improvements in my health. Taking the time to stretch before and after soccer practice is something else I highly recommend, regardless of your age. Trust me your muscles will thank you especially after a particularly long practice or exhausting match.

Wearing the right protective gear is always recommended no matter your age when you are playing soccer. It is especially important for me since I’m older and thanks to the natural aging process it takes me a little longer to heal. I also want to keep playing for as long as I can, which is why I always wear the following gear.


Since I am a guy I never go out onto the field without wearing a protective cup. It’s amazing how truly painful a ball hitting your groin can actually be. A protective cup is an inexpensive piece of gear that you will be glad you are wearing at least once every practice or match. Some guys also wear mouthguards, but I’ll leave that up to your discretion. I don’t, but then again we are mainly playing for fun and not really competing against each other so hits to the mouth are extremely rare.

One piece of equipment that every soccer player should wear are shinguards. Kicks and ball hits to your shins are common, and if there aren’t any you are probably not playing the game right. Even us “old timers” can put plenty of force behind our kicks and this can cause severe injuries to a player’s shins. There are two types of shin guards and the right one for you usually depends on personal preference. My shin guards are designed to slip into sleeves, which makes them really easy to put on and take off. Some of my buddies wear the kind that fasten around their legs with a Velcro strap. Both types are perfectly capable of providing you with the protection you need whether you are playing a match or practicing with teammates.

With the right gear you can play soccer at any age, and I can’t wait to update you after we play our first match.

Taking My Grandkids to Soccer Practice Every Saturday Is Awesome

As a big fan of soccer, I am extremely glad that I managed to convince my grandkids to take up this great sport. Now, I have to take them every Saturday to practice and I must say that the experience is pretty awesome. While I am not exactly fond of the idea of watching from the sidelines, I know that my presence matters and that they feel better knowing that I am there and that I am rooting for them. There are so many great advantages for kids practicing soccer that I am really content with the fact that I discovered my passion for this sport, even if it was later in life. While I can never think of going professional, they may even consider such a career if they are really good at kicking the ball.


One thing that I like about soccer is that it greatly improves fitness levels. There is so little physical activity for kids these days, that there is no wonder that they turn up obese and lacking energy to do anything productive. During soccer practice, my grandkids get to run a lot, so they become more agile and fit. Even their parents are noticing the change and they are glad that they no longer have to think about ways on how to motivate their kids to move more.

Soccer teaches discipline and there are some great role models out there that my kids are really mad about. I suppose that it comes to no surprise that they all love Cristiano Ronaldo. I even watched a documentary about the soccer player’s life together with them, and I expected them to grow bored after less than 10 minutes. On the contrary, they stayed and watched with me, and by the end, I could not get them off me, as they wanted to start their soccer practice on the spot. I know that they are only kids and that they may not go for professional soccer, but I strongly believe that the lessons they are learning in this manner will never be forgotten.


What I have also noticed during Saturday practice is that my grandkids find it easier to make new friends. In school, there are so many rivalries, and kids do not value friendship today as we used to back in the days. In soccer, on the other hand, it is important to be part of a team, so you should not overlook the importance of creating strong bonds with the others.

I think that there are many other things kids may learn from soccer practice, but this is just the beginning. I know that I will be taking them to practice each Saturday and that I will greatly enjoy watching their progress.