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Nutrition Tips for Young Athletes

Doctorpedia Editorial Team Doctorpedia Editorial Team Mar 24, 2020
Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen

A proper diet is crucial to optimize performance on the playing field. Good nutrition helps keep you healthy, maintains your energy levels, and improves strength. Young athletes need to be especially observant of what they eat, because their bodies are still developing. What should kids eat after a workout, or in general? Here are some tips:

 

Carbs Provide Energy

 

Whole-grain bread, pasta, cereal, potatoes, and rice are all good choices. Oatmeal is another healthy choice that fills you up. It’s better to eat after a workout, because you’ll have more of an appetite, and you won’t risk getting sick while exercising. If you must eat before working out, try to do so 30-60 minutes beforehand. 

 

Protein Is Essential

 

How else can you rebuild your muscles and recover for your next workout session? Protein-rich foods are a necessity for athletes of all ages. Young athletes should spread out their protein intake throughout the day. Yogurt, low-sodium lunch meat, and eggs are some recommendations. For a snack, mixed nuts are a great choice. Plant-based foods like tofu and beans are also an option. 

 

Skip the candy bars, sodas and chips, and go for some healthier choices. Granola bars, cheese sticks, and nuts are some suggestions.

 

Keep the Fatty Foods to a Minimum

 

Pizza, hamburgers, and french fries may taste good, but they fill you up quickly and hinder your performance. It’s best to save these foods for special occasions. 

 

Stay Hydrated

 

Drink plenty of water before a game and continue to drink in smaller amounts during the game itself. After the game, drink some more, and if you’ve been sweating a lot, consider a low-sugar sports drink to replenish electrolytes. 

 

Drink Milk

 

Milk is a great source of protein and calcium. It helps rebuild muscles, and build strong bones. For those who want to lose weight, consider low-fat milk. 

 

And How About Snacks?

 

If you’re burning a lot of calories on the playing field, you’ll work up an appetite. Skip the candy bars, sodas and chips, and go for some healthier choices. Granola bars, cheese sticks, and nuts are some suggestions. Fruit and vegetables are also good to eat as a snack; bring apples, bananas, carrots, or tomatoes to your kid’s sporting event. Sandwiches are also an option. Peanut butter is a great choice, due to its high protein content, or you can go for turkey and cheese. Salty snacks are recommended, because athletes lose a lot of salt from their bodies while they sweat. Trail mix with dried fruit is a perfect snack to replenish salt. 

 

If you use the tips listed above to your advantage, you can ensure that your young athlete has the best chance to become one of the top performers in his or her game.

References

 

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