Grass roots football is full of traditions and one of the classics are half time oranges. However it seems that they are disappearing from our touchlines.

A survey of childrens sport showed that astonishingly 45% of children eat an unhealthy snack such as crisps or chocolate at half time. 43% of young players choose fizzy sugary drinks over water. Players can undo most of the good they achieve playing a match by eating a chocolate bar at half time.

But are oranges the best choice?

Orange segments are not only convenient, tasty and affordable they are loaded with vitamin C, natural sugars, packed with carbohydrate and have high water content. The downside? They lack electrolytes and some consider them too acidic for player’s teeth.

What are the alternatives?

Protein bars? Scientifically developed sports snacks? Not what we are thinking at grass roots level. It seems that a popular alternative for all those orange haters out there is fig rolls! Sports dietitian Bob Seebohar considers that “Fig rolls are a much better choice as they are packed with both simple and complex carbohydrates, providing a footballer with a consistent amount of energy distribution in the second half,”

“They also have a good amount of sodium and potassium – electrolytes – that help keep the muscles firing properly and help maintain hydration. Overall, having a fig roll or two with some water is ideal for a half-time snack.”

Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes both hold the humble fig roll in high esteem for feeding tired (and dare we say more mature) muscles.

Oranges, fig rolls, jaffa cakes, whatever you choose for your team pick something that’s going to become your tradition.

Published by Leanne Bulley