Food equals fuel for all athletes. This blog tells you what young athletes should and should not eat.
Breakfast is the most important meal. I don’t think that’s a big secret anymore. Best breakfast choices are fruit, yogurt, whole grain bread, cheese, protein shakes, eggs, meat, fish, avocado and whole grain pancakes or waffles.
Eat a nutritious meal two to four hours before practice or a game. Your kid needs this fuel because food equals fuel! – A sample ideal meal might be grilled chicken, grilled vegetables, whole grain bread, fruit, salad, whole grain/brown rice.
Eat another nutritious meal one or two hours after practice or game. This meal replenishes the lost nutrients. Chocolate milk has been shown to be a good fluid replacement drink after a game or practice. Do not skip meals, remember: Food equals fuel!
If you must grab and go, make sure it’s a banana, apple, dried fruit, nuts, peanut butter, protein shake, or low-fat cheese. Sports bars are often no better than a Snickers.
Avoid high fat, high sugar, and fast foods. Is it possible to make a healthy choice for food equals fuel in the drive-through lane? – Yes! Apples, single burger, mil, salad, yogurt.
Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of carbohydrates and fiber. Maintain a healthy, comfortable weight. Your family doctor will have your child’s health records and can track his or her weight. Be guided by the doctor’s judgement based on height, weight, and growth pattern.
Eating Disorders are serious
Calories are necessary for top performance and mental acuity. Figure skaters, divers, gymnasts, cheerleaders, wrestlers, and runners often feel intense pressure to lose weight. If you feel your child may have an eating disorder, talk with your family doctor first for a referral to a mental health specialist/psychologist.
Dairy products are a good source of calcium and should be included in a smart diet. Calcium is required for bone and muscle health and weight maintenance. Milk that is 2 percent is recommended for teenagers. For younger kids, whole milk is the best choice.
Remember, food equals fuel for young athletes. The right food and liquid intake can make all the difference in regards to performance!