As parents We know that proper nutrition is essential for our kids to grow healthy bones and muscles, but what about the ultra active child that participates in competitive sports?

Active athletes need the essential nutrition that all kids need and sometimes a bit more to refuel essential vitamins lost during the extra excursion from training and competition.

Here are some food types to consider for recharging our children’s fuel tanks:

Carbohydrates

Some excellent sources are vegetables, fruits and calcium found in dairy products.

Protein

Some sources are meat, seafood, poultry, nuts, beans and dairy products.

Vitamins

Some essential nutrients can be found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products

Calcium and Iron

These are also essential nutrients for kids to develop healthy bones. Some good sources for these nutrients are meat, dried beans, and dairy products.

American dietary guidelines also outline some micronutrients to monitor carefully for proper consumption levels. Most Americans are not getting enough of these nutrients in their daily diets:

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 and folate are members of the B-complex family of vitamins and are important for metabolism and blood health.

Iron

Iron is important for its oxygen carrying abilities and also assists with the absorption of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Calcium

Calcium is essential to support bone growth, aids in nerve impulses and muscle contraction.

Zinc

While it is rare to have a deficiency in this nutrient, Zinc plays a role in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and is important for wound healing and tissue growth.

Athletes burn more calories…

They will need more food to replenish their energy. It’s also important to remember those essential nutrients are lost during exercise.

It’s important to maintain a balanced diet as too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. For example, consuming far too much protein can contribute to kidney problems.

Healthy snacks may serve as an excellent way to bridge the gap between meals and satisfy the hunger urges before or after practice time. Avoiding sugary products like sodas or candy bars will help prevent the crash and burn effect after the sugar quickly wears off.

Some good choices for snacks are fruits and veggies. If they need a little protein for more energy, some good choices are; sliced turkey, nuts, cheese cubes or hard-boiled eggs.

For game-day nutrition be sure kids eat 2-4 hours before the competition begins. A great game day starts with a great breakfast. Kids energy levels will be better fueled with servings of whole grain, lean protein, and fruit.

The body needs the proper amount of time to absorb the nutrients and convert protein into energy and vitamins distributed to the right sources.

Muscles rely on glycogen to have the energy they need to keep going.

Here are five tips to ensure your athlete is receiving the proper nutrition:

  1. Healthy calories = More Energy
  2. The body needs protein for muscle recovery
  3. Serve healthy carbs not sugary processed carbs
  4. Serve healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, salmon, boiled eggs, or yogurt
  5. Make sure kids are properly hydrating. This helps the body to absorb nutrients properly and make sure they do not get dehydrated during competition or extended training sessions.

We hope this information has been helpful.

Stay tuned for more helpful articles and tips.
Until then, exercise and hydrate healthy!

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