Nutrition for Children Athletes
When your children are playing sports, it’s important that they get proper nutrition from the foods they eat. While children ages 6 – 12 generally need between 1600 and 2500 calories a day, an athlete who is more active needs to eat more. The basic variety of foods that your little athletes need include: protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fats.
Two important nutrients for athletes are Iron and Calcuim. The iron will help your kids from getting tired so easily. Calcium is important for building strong bones.
It’s also very important that your kids stay hydrated. Athletes need water before, during and after exercise. Encourage your kids not to wait until they are thirsty to drink something. Your best bet for hydration is fruit juice mixed with water. Try not to drink too many sports drinks and soda is to be avoided.
Dieting while involved in sports is not usually healthy for kids. Because your kids are still growing, dieting can jeopardize your child’s full growth potential.
When it’s time to practice or compete, your child will get energy from the foods they have been eating all week. It’s still a good idea to eat well on that day. Avoid eating large meals during the 2 – 4 hours prior to activity. A pre-game meal high in carbohydrates and protein is ideal. Since it’s not a good idea for your athlete to be hungry, bring along a healthy snack.
Thanks to Kids Health for this great information!