As children become more involved in sports most parents begin to notice a drop in their overall energy and suspect that their child is participating in too much activity. The truth is the activity is great for the body but their growing bodies cannot sustain energy without the proper fuel. As their activities levels change, so do their nutritional needs.
Try and be sure to include each food group (grains, vegetables, dairy, fruits, & proteins) in all three meals throughout the day to ensure a well-balanced diet for your growing athlete! Try your hardest to steer clear of pre-packaged or pre-prepared foods to make sure your child is getting the highest quality nutrients in their body.
Make sure each day begins fueled and ready to go with a filling, healthy, breakfast. As many parents notice, cereal or nutritive bars don’t seem to give lasting energy sources and the athlete ends up hungry again after several hours. Although getting out of bed a little earlier may be a challenge the first few times, a well-balanced breakfast will leave your athlete more energized and healthy than those extra 10 minutes of sleep! Try this for example (of course you can customize it to your child’s preferences or dietary restrictions).
-1 scrambled egg with cheese
whole wheat toast with peanut butter and/or honey
-A cup of mixed fruits on the side
-A glass of milk, chocolate milk, or fresh squeezed orange juice
Although many schools are preaching healthy eating the quality of school lunches is still suffering in most schools so again although it may take extra time, it is much better to pack a lunch from home!
Wraps are great for school lunches because you can stick just about anything in them including cooked or raw vegetables which is especially great for children who are picky about eating meat! Again try and include all your food groups in the meal and include a healthy snack like yogurt with granola or mixed fruits or vegetables and here a good time to include something sweet like a small amount of dark chocolate as an energy booster.
Make sure to always feed your athlete BEFORE they go to their sports practice. If possible try to feed your athlete at least an hour before they will begin activity to ensure their food is fully digested so their body can focus on fueling their muscles rather than their digestive system.
-Grilled chicken with boiled broccoli on the side (don’t be afraid to use whatever seasoning you like)
If you are running short on time or your athlete doesn’t have too long to digest make the a protein packed fruit smoothie
-1 banana + 1/2 avocado + 1 tbsp honey + 1 cup almond milk + berry of your choice
Post sports meal:
Depending on your time allowances you can interchange your pre & post sports meals.
The entire family can practice this entire healthy lifestyle together because children truly are lead by example!