Every Day Nutrition Tips for Youth Athletes

For youth athletes, good nutrition includes enhancing athletic performance, limiting sports related injuries, boosting training and promoting recovery. For this reason, young athletes need adequate calories and nutrients, in addition to supporting their normal growth and maturation. Energy and nutrient rich foods can achieve these goals and ultimately make your child a better athlete. Here are some basic nutrition tips to keep in mind for game day and every day in between. 

1.     Don’t skip meals or food groups. Eating a balanced diet with adequate grains, protein foods, fruits, vegetables and dairy will keep you performing at your best. Make sure you include most or all food groups at each meal for optimal sports performance.

2.     Eat a balanced breakfast. Start the day with a whole grain carbohydrate and a good source of protein. Breakfast can be whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk and fruit or whole-grain waffles with peanut butter, banana and fruit juice or oatmeal made with milk. For a quick breakfast on the go, choose an egg sandwich or a smoothie made with fruit, yogurt and milk.

3.     Water is key for ideal hydration. You should drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Drink water during the day to stay hydrated for your upcoming game or practice. Make sure to drink during your activity and afterward to rehydrate from perspiration.

4.     Pack snacks. Have a snack between meals or before a game to keep energized. Enjoy energy dense snacks that provide a good source of protein for rebuilding and carbohydrate for energy: sports drinks or 100% juice boxes, trail mix, peanut butter crackers, granola bars, fresh fruit, veggies and hummus, yogurt and popcorn.

Follow these tips and you are certain to have energy and stamina for any sport.

Written by Crystal Hein