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:

 

 

Athlete Nutrition Guidelines, Healthy Muscle Gain

The goal of virtually every athlete is to give their body the necessary nutrition which will help them  gain muscle for best performance  and keep the body lean and free of excess weight. It can be achieved through healthy diet for weight loss and muscle gain.

In my experience as a trainer and athlete coach I have found these nutrition guidelines to be of great help.

Proper Nutrition For Athletes should include the following 8 items

Pure Water

Simply outstanding. My home town is in the tropics and I realize that our tropical climate makes water requirements even higher than usual.

benefits of drinking water illustrated, young athlete

Every other beverage is inferior so you really don’t need anything else. Even low levels of dehydration (1% of bodyweight lost in sweat) cause big drops in performance and health. Having water on hand makes you less likely to drink other nonsense drinks.

Benefits Of Drinking Water

Water improves flexibility and muscle tissue quality. It also lubricates joints and is good for your skin health and appearance. Water aids digestion and is essential for cellular level chemical processes. Drinking regularly will help prevent overeating. Cold water even burns a couple more calories each day (which does add up in the long run).

Performance wise, proper water intake will reduce cramping. In my experience, I have found that the key component for preventing my athletes from cramping during competition is not fancy sports supplements or magic foods.

The key is hydration. Colored urine is a no-no for any of my guys. Once they learn how effective this simple strategy is I don’t need to nag anymore. Bring pure water with you everywhere and drink constantly. More pee breaks are a decent tradeoff for the huge amount of benefits that water gives you. Bring clean water around with you everywhere. Uh…the bottle is for water so that you are reminded to drink enough.

Unprocessed Meat

I want to be clear that you must really see that the meat is from a natural source not a processed one, and for that it’s helpful to think of meat as animals. If you are seeing a piece of chicken, you can imagine that it was once a living, breathing animal. This is harder to do when you see a chicken cracker or chicken sausage which are vastly inferior to actual piece of chicken.

Get lean cuts of meat. Animal fat is saturated and gets you those dreaded heart complications if you eat too much of it. Lean cuts of any meat are really great sources of protein. Chicken, beef, pork, lamb, deer, ostrich. Yup all good. If possible go for the grass fed or “free range” meats because they have a better omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. But if that’s too expensive on inaccessible then its not the end of the world. Get the regular meat and make up the ratio via healthy omega-3 fats like fish oils and flax seeds.

Eggs

Top notch source of protein. Minimal saturated fat (only 1.5g per egg compare this with 10-15g per hamburger patty). I can’t believe there are even doctors and nutritionists that tell us 2 eggs per week are all out bodies can handle. Parents say “no eggs kids, they are dangerous” but let’s go to a fast food restaurant and eat jumbo sized triple patty burgers…hard to figure out, but happens all the time. Did you know that the saturated fat in one hamburger patty is equal to that in 8-10 eggs?

Personally I eat about 6 eggs on average per day. Whenever I take a blood test, my good cholesterol is high and my total cholesterol is at the low end of normal. Eggs… they’re fantastic!

Nuts

High in monounsaturated fat. This means less heart disease, faster metabolic rate and better testosterone levels. Nuts are also high in fiber and taste really good. Keep away from the fried, oiled or salted ones. Get them raw and toast them yourself. They taste great and are a great healthy snack. Different nuts have different ratios of fat types, so eat a variety of types. Macadamias, almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios – all good.

proper nutrition for athletes includes nuts, illustration

Natural peanut butter is included in this category. Get those from supermarkets where they grind the nuts for you on the spot. The slight increase in cost is probably worth it over the overly sugared, artificial fat laden regular peanut butter.

Olive Oil

Also a great source of healthy fat. Olive oil raises good cholesterol, contains vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant, reduces risk of colon cancer, lowers the risk of gallstones and is a good salad dressing. What’s not to like.

Fruits And Vegetables

Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap since the days of the super low-carb Atkins diet which is still recommended by some personal trainers in Singapore and elsewhere. I believe Atkins is a better idea than a high refined carbohydrate diet but it is not a total health system.

Far more important than total carbohydrate intake however, is the type of carbohydrates that you eat.

Fruits and vegetables should be your main carbohydrate sources. Eat all kinds and all colors. Fruits and vegetables have huge amounts of micronutrients and anti-oxidants. Green vegetables also tend to have cancer preventing properties and the ability to help those who have high blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables also are high in fiber and taste really good as well.

Beans

Beans are great sources of fiber (benefits of fiber listed above). They also have protein but its vegetable protein which is inferior to animal protein. The list of good beans is long. Peas, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, navy beans (there are many more types as well) are all good.

Green Tea

Green tea is a great source of potent antioxidants, manages to lower total cholesterol, improves good to bad cholesterol ratio, tastes decent, and has 0 calories. The   benefits of green tea   are indisputable. Make sure to take advantage of this amazing, thousands of years old and proven beverage. This, along with water (as mentioned above) should be your main drink.

Get the above foods into your diet and watch your health levels improve fast. You have nothing to lose and plenty to gain by using and implementing my athlete nutrition guidelines.

By: Coach Jonathan Wong

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