What Should Young Athletes Eat

Nutrition for young athletes is infinitely important as it is for all children. It is often claimed that athletic children need more nutrients, particularly protein, in their diet.

Young Athletes Protein Requirement

While kids who are athletically active use more energy and certainly require more calories to replace it, more protein does not, contrary to popular opinion, add up to more muscle. This misconception most likely stems from the deterioration associated with protein deficiency, an extremely rare condition among American children. Nutritionists recommend a mere 15% daily intake of protein for athletes, with 50% allotted for carbs the body’s primary fuel.

Young Athletes And Supplements

Another common misconception is that kids who are active athletes need more vitamins than children who are not athletic. While some supplementation with carefully chosen natural vitamins and minerals may at times be helpful, great caution is called for. Taking too many supplements can lead to an overdose. A healthy, balanced diet is always best. The need for  supplements  arises in case of poor food choices such as fast foods, junk foods and supermarket ready made meals when they form a regular diet. Even then no supplements can fully make up for a well balanced healthy diet menu.

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Hydration For Young Athletes

Fluid requirements, on the other hand, are greatly elevated during any strenuous exercise, especially since lack of thirst is not considered a reliable indicator of sufficient hydration. The Center for Disease Control recommends drinking water every 15-20 minutes before, during and after exercising, especially in the heat. Avoid drinking pop and all carbonated drinks and also bottled reverse osmosis water as it is devoid of any minerals.

Bottled spring water is OK. Some athletes and nutritionists very highly recommend Kangen water.

To sum up the key points above, athletic children need extra food-energy but shouldn’t change the balance of calorie-type ratios in their diet. Even more important than a balanced diet for an athlete is constant attentiveness to their hydration schedule.

Timing Of Meals

Eating  directly before a vigorous activity will slow athletic performance.

Sugar And Temporary Energy Boost Myth

The energy rush we get from sugar strolls by leisurely more than it rushes.

The body relies on stored energy in the form of glucose stored in the muscles and liver. So not only is the sugar useless, but it can even increase the risk of gastrointestinal problems such as cramps and nausea according to Suzanne Nelson Sc.D. RD, University of Washington.

Parents Role In Young Athletes Nutrition

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Incorporate a little fun and variety in the menu of your young athlete. Keep in mind that meal times are a perfect opportunity to embed a positive outlook on healthy eating in your children. So try to keep it fun and avoid conflict. Also, feel free to indulge them in their favorite foods occasionally (variety is a great way to build excitement and a positive attitude towards nutrition). Just don’t compromise healthy eating right out of their routine. Consider keeping a daily food diary. It will help to make sure that you stay on track. Always remember who decides the menu. Balanced diet menu is healthy diet menu and it will provide good nutrition for young athletes.

By: Alex Tatarinov-Levin

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Nutrition For Young Athletes Lecture In Front Of Kid Athletes Video:

 

 

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