Do you follow any sports nutritional guidelines to help your child play youth sports? Your child may practice for hours and think he is fully prepared for the game, but unless he is eating and drinking properly before and after, he will not be performing at his peak.
Last week I attended a nutrition and hydration meeting at the Orlando branch of D1, a national sports training facility. The nutrition expert was dietician Carrie Mayo from Miami, Florida, who reminded us how big a role nutrition and hydration play in helping athletes to perform their best.
Are you feeding your kids according to these guidelines?
- The athlete’s diet should consist of 60-70% carbs, 20-35% fats, and 10-20% protein.
- The pre-game meal should be high in carbs 3-4 hours before the event. Carbs should be easy to digest: breads, potatoes, pasta, fruit, and fruit juices.
- Before the event, avoid bulky, fiber-rich foods (raw vegetables and high bran cereals) and stay away from carbs with little to no nutritional value (soda, candy, cakes).
- Examples of pre-game meals: tuna sandwich with a fruit smoothie; crackers, peanut butter and a fruit cup; muffin, fresh fruit and yogurt; turkey, bagel and low-fat milk.
- 2-3 hours before the activity, drink 2-3 cups
- 15 minutes before the activity, drink 1-2 cups
- During activity: 1/2-1 cup every 15 minutes**
- After activity: 2 cups for each pound of body weight lost
- Post-game nutrition should be a high-carb meal (similar to pre-game) eaten within 15 minutes-2 hours minutes after physical activity.
- If your child is not hungry after the game, have them drink a beverage with carbs, such as sports drinks or fruit juices.
Sports Nutrition Guidelines Were Not on My Radar
Unfortunately, 10 years ago, when my kids were busy playing sports, I could have used these sports nutritional guidelines. They were great athletes, but I sometimes wonder if they would have been even better if I’d done a better job of putting the right foods into them.
Perhaps it was my own fault for not looking into it, but as you well know, sports parents don’t have a lot of free time for nutritional research and sports nutrition was not on my radar at the time.
Hopefully this post gives you somewhere to start, as you feed your kids this week. I know you want to do everything you can to help them give their best effort.
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