With the transition from summer to fall comes an upswing of sports in our neighborhood. This means both parents and kids are juggling many tasks and activities, which usually equates to frequent fast food stops. Most of us know that our children need to consume a healthy, well-balanced diet, and the need for nutrition is even more prevalent for our young athletes. Their bodies are more active and they are often faced with practicing in varying weather extremes, if they’re involved in outdoor sports. If you’re looking for a few suggestions to help keep your young athlete healthy and performing at their best, check out the following tips.
Tips for Fueling Young Athletes
- Make sure your athlete is getting a large healthy breakfast every morning, especially on game day. Pack healthy snacks (i.e., fresh produce, whole grain crackers, nuts, nut butters, hummus) for them to eat at school and before and after practices and games.
- Young athletes should be taking vitamins each day to help make up for what they aren’t receiving from their diets. Look for a children’s daily multivitamin that contains both calcium and iron. You’ll also want to steer clear of gummy vitamins and others with added sugar and/or food coloring.
- Increase their starchy vegetable intake (sweet potatoes, white potatoes, peas, beans, plantains, squash) to help keep them fuller longer and filled with energy.
- Keep your athlete hydrated and replace sports drinks with water. Many sports drinks contain sugar, food coloring and other substances that are not good for our bodies. If your youngster wants to add a little flavor to the hydration routine, try a flavored coconut water instead. They are loaded with electrolytes. My kids love the pineapple-flavored Vita Coconut Water.
- Young athletes need more sleep than their non-athletic peers. I know this can be difficult with late practices and early school mornings, but do as much as you can on non-practice/non-game days to help keep the sleep schedule as consistent as possible.
I hope these tips help to keep your young athlete at the top of their game! Maybe I will see you on or around the field. If you’d like a custom meal plan for your family during this busy time of the year, visit me at PressOnEnterprise.com. You can also connect with me for free recipes, tips and resources by liking my Facebook page @ShontePress.