Athletes know that nutrition is important to performance and they want to improve their game. However, many parents are unsure about how to begin addressing nutritional needs with their young athlete and when it is appropriate. Generally, it is recommended that young athletes address their nutrition as soon as they become involved in any level of competitive sport. URL

Most young athletes will benefit from a healthy diet that provides balanced meals and snacks that include a variety of complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats. This will help provide energy for their activity as well as support normal growth and development.

Nutrition and Fitness Tips for Aspiring Athletes

Carbohydrates are the primary fuel for most activities of higher intensity and should make up about half of all calories consumed. Carbohydrates can be obtained from a wide variety of foods including whole grains, fruit, juices and milk products (low-fat or non-fat). In addition, the body uses healthy fats as a source of fuel during activity. Athletes should focus on consuming monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from sources such as avocado, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and fish.

Athletes should hydrate by drinking plenty of water. Most individuals need at least two quarts of water daily; however, it is important that athletes consume more than this amount during exercise and especially in hot weather to avoid dehydration and hyponatraemia.

Young athletes should eat protein rich foods at every meal and snack to help support muscle growth and repair. Protein can be found in a wide variety of foods including lean meats, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts and legumes. Carbohydrates should also be consumed at every meal and snack as they provide fuel for the body. Restricting carbohydrate intake or following low-carb diets is not a good idea for athletes because it will likely impair performance.

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