Got a young athlete in the house?
A swimmer and a volleyball player. The swimmer is a club team participant, swimming 2 hours each night, 5-6 nights each week.
My volleyball player is at the high school level, which means most nights during the week while in season she is practicing for 2 hours, also.
My two athletes are still growing, so I give special consideration to their nutrition needs for growth, as well as the calorie torch related to their sport.
5 Ways to Ensure Your Young Athlete is Energized
It’s important to make sure your young athlete is getting the good stuff, and enough of it. Try these tips:
Stock your kitchen with good quality nutrition
Choose whole foods in their natural state, such as low fat dairy products, lean meats and other protein sources, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats. These are the foods that should be a part of every healthy, growing child’s diet.
Make sure your child gets three nutritious meals and no skipping!
A meal should include at least 3-4 of these foods: a protein source, dairy, fruit, vegetable, healthy fats and/or a whole grain food source.
Aim for 2 snacks each day that include a protein source
Meats, beans and bean dips, nuts and nut butters, cheeses, yogurt, milk or milk substitutes, and protein-rich whole grains such as quinoa are great sources of protein for the young athlete.
Unsweetened cereal and milk; yogurt, fresh fruit and nuts; whole-wheat toast and peanut butter are all examples of a healthy protein-rich snack for your school-age athlete.
Click to Get New Snack Ideas for Your Athlete!
Timing is everything
Kids perform best in all aspects of life when they eat regularly. Try to provide a meal or snack every 3-4 hours, and avoid sending your athlete to practice on an empty stomach.
No need to worry about counting calories or grams of protein
Let your athlete’s appetite lead the way. Take care not to fall into the trap of running through the drive-thru, hitting the convenience mart or snacking on too much processed foods. If so, your athlete may overshoot the balance of energy in: energy out.
With a little bit of planning, it’s easy to assure your young athlete gets enough nutrition to cover all his needs. The benefits of this are worth it–keeping your young athlete healthy, growing and energized for performing on the court or in the pool.
How do you make sure your athlete is getting enough nutrition?
Check out my new sports nutrition program Eat Like a Champion!