Eating smart can give your child the energy they need to play hard! Nutrition plays an important role in your child's athletic performance; therefore, coaches and parents must realize that making good food choices can increase athletic performance. Below are a few frequently asked questions:
What should my child eat before a game?
When it's time to practice or play, you'll get energy from the foods you've been eating all week. Kids need a variety of healthy
food and athletes are no different. Children should eat foods that include protein, which
is found in meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, nuts, and dairy foods. Carbohydrates are also important for your child's performance and the best sources can be found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Vitamins found in fruits and vegetables and minerals that are found in dairy products should also be included in your child's pre-game meal 2 to 4 hours before the game. Kid's need some fat, too, but that is not difficult to get and it's found in meats, cheeses, nuts, oil, and butter, just to name a few. Here are some pre-game meal ideas:
- Cream of wheat with fresh blueberries
- French toast and orange juice
- Granola and milk or yogurt and 1/2 grapefruit
- Hash browns and scrambled eggs
- Huevos Rancheros
- Oatmeal with raisins or bananas and milk
- Pancakes or waffles and fruit salad
- Yogurt and fresh fruit with a muffin
- Chicken noodle soup and apple slices
- Fish tacos
- Pesto pasta
- Rice and bean burrito
- Pita bread and hummus with fresh vegetables
- Roasted potatoes, green beans and grilled salmon
- Tomato soup and a peanut butter sandwich
- Tuna sandwich and a fruit smoothie
What should my child eat after a game?
After the game, experts recommend eating carbs (fruit, pretzels, etc.) within 30 minutes after intense activity and again 2 hours later. Your child's body will be rebuilding muscle tissue and replenishing energy stores and fluids for up to 24 hours after the competition. So it's important that the post-game meal be a balance of lean protein, carbs, and fat.
What should my child drink during a game?
Drinking before, during, and after a game is the best way to stay hydrated. Water is the best choice. Fruit juice mixed with water is another refreshing drink. But avoid sodas, especially caffeinated ones. A sports drink is OK once in a while, but remember that these drinks have a lot of sugar and calories. Water is still the best drink for your body and it contains no calories. You may want to choose a sports drink if you are exercising vigorously for more than an hour or in really hot weather.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUTH SPORTS AND NUTRITION, CHECK OUT THE LINKS OF INTEREST BELOW:
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American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)