Tips & Etc..

Why Nutrition is Essential for Active Youth

Active kids, including those who participate in sports, need balanced meals and snacks with all the nutrients that keep their bodies running well. Getting the appropriate amount of calories is essential but eating the right foods is just as crucial for a growing child who runs, jumps, and spends energy on the field or court.

Proper Vitamins and Minerals

Children need a variety of vitamins and minerals. Two of the most important to be aware of are iron and calcium. Iron makes sure oxygen is available to all the body parts as needed. Some foods that contain large amounts of iron include fortified whole grains, leafy green vegetables, dried fruits, salmon, tuna, chicken, and lean meats.

Calcium, on the other hand, is important to build strong bones. This can prevent stress fractures and breakages. Some of the foods that contain substantial amounts of calcium are dairy items like cheese, yogurt, and milk, as well as leafy green vegetables.

Plenty of Protein

Protein is used to repair and build muscles and a balanced diet will provide plenty of it for a growing child athlete. Some of the most common sources of protein include lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, nuts, soy products, and dairy items.

The Right Carbohydrates

Carbs offer energy for the body and act as an integral fuel for athletes. If carbs aren’t part of the child’s diet, it will affect their energy levels. However, some carbs are better for consumption than others. Look for items like whole-grain cereal and bread, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, and lots of vegetables and fruits.

Most active kids get everything they need from the food they eat. However, in some cases, higher fluid and energy needs require changes. For instance, endurance sports or day-long competitions mean the need to eat more to keep their energy up.

Don’t Forget Hydration

Drinking lots of fluids is just as important as eating the right foods. Not drinking enough can lead to dehydration, which can result in poor energy, strength, and coordination. Even minor dehydration can make a child perform at less than their best in sports.

While sports drinks are available, water is the best way for kids to stay hydrated. Carbonated and sugary drinks should be avoided as they can cause stomach issues. However, sports drinks can be used for kids who engage in more than an hour of physical activity.

Thirst isn’t the best gauge of whether someone is dehydrated. Kids should be drinking before and after activity as well as every 15 to 20 minutes during the act. This will ensure they stay hydrated and can do their best.

Schaumburg Seminoles

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