Talk with any athletic coach and they will tell you how important good nutrition is for athletes. This is true for Olympic calibre athletes and children just starting out in athletics. Considering following these healthy food tips for young athletes and help them do better at their chosen sport.
Healthy, balanced meals are important for everyone but they’re especially important for active children. Young athletes often have different nutritional needs than children who aren’t athletic. Providing healthy food choices can do more than fuel your young athlete; it can actually help them perform better.
Talk to the experts. It’s hard to instinctively know what a young athlete needs to eat to maximize their performance. However, you child’s coach and doctor will know. Ask them what your child needs to eat during training and while participating in their chosen sport. Their nutritional needs will likely change if it’s off-season or if they’re in the midst of playing.
If you’re unsure what foods are most healthy, all you have to do is look in your child’s health book. They’ll have a picture of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Pyramid. It will explain how many servings of each food group your child needs on a daily basis. Your child’s coach and doctor will let you know if your child needs more of certain foods and less of others.
Be sure to provide your young athlete with plenty of brightly-colored produce each day. These are packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients which are important for growing children. Of course, you may have to come up with inventive ways to get your child to eat them.
Everyone has heard the commercials stating how good milk is for growing children. You’ve heard it, “Milk, it does a body good.” With this in mind, it’s important to provide your children with plenty of foods containing calcium. This would include milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Iron rich foods are also important. These would include meat, eggs, broccoli, and green leafy vegetables. You’ll also want to provide healthy carbohydrates. Offer whole grain breads and pastas rather than white versions.
Try to get your child to drink more water than sugary soft drinks. The body needs hydration but the amount of sugar in soft drinks is entirely too much. Of course, you may offer them 100% juices, too. Staying away from artificially sweetened drinks is also a good idea to ensure your child is healthy.
Follow these healthy food tips for young athletes and you can be sure you’re providing them with the fuel they need to perform well. Having healthy foods in your home, and leaving the junk food at the store, will be difficult to begin with but the effort will lead to your child, and possibly the entire family, being healthier.