Nutrition For Child Athletes
Hello! I'm still here!
We've just returned from our time at Pleasant Bay Camp, where I was once again the camp cook!
It was a good experience again, and my stress levels were waaaaaaay down from last year. One reason for that was that it wasn't an unknown (even though there are many variables in planning, prepping, and serving food to large numbers) because I'd already done the cooking at this camp last year, and also this year was a lot easier ("easier"-it's still a lot of hard work with long, long hours!) because I had adult help! I loved my kitchen staff from last summer, but it wasn't until this year where I had consistent grown-up help that I went "ooohhhhh....last summer was extra stressful, and extra work because I had (wonderful, sweet) teens helping me who knew nothing. Nothing!".
Anywho, one struggle I had last year planning the menu, and this year with updating and simplifying it, was nutrition. These kids at camp are outdoors basically all day, are in the sun, are swimming, boating, waterskiing, tubing, rock-wall climbing, walking and running, playing on the playground, the list goes on and on, and these kids need food that is fuel! Summer camp cooking can be hard because of budgets, and the number of staff available to do fruit & veggie prep work. But I was blessed both last summer and this to be able to buy good food for the kids, and the staff to get fresh fruits and vegetables out to the kids and staff every day, and at every meal.
Back in the spring, Katie Cruz from Consider Digital asked if she could write a guest post for me at Bushel & A peck, and after looking over some of her writing, and considering the topics she wanted to write about, I thought that an article about nutrition for child athletes would be perfect! I have Abigail & Keziah in soccer in the spring, and so I am feeling first hand the need for fitness nutrition, and I’m also with a lot of other Moms and Dads who, in the rush to make it to practices and games, often let the nutrition of their kids suffer.
And with trying to plan meals that would be nutritionally sound for the active campers I was charged with feeding, I thought this article was perfect for me, and worthy of sharing! Also, I am a "soccer mom", and I watched kids come to games and practices who hadn't had anything to eat in hours, or (even worse) they'd shovelled back a McDonald's Happy Meal on the car ride over. I'd overhead conversations like "what do you want for supper after practice? Pizza? Happy meal?". As though those were the only options. I'm not here to pass judgement, because I know how hard it can be to feed kids that are on the go, and my kids have eaten their fair share of happy meals, but when it comes to kids expelling extra energy, feeding them well is so important. If you had a race car, would you just siphon fuel out of any old vehicle to give to your car? Not likely. Kids need good food as fuel, so enjoy this article from Katie, and let me know what you think, or if you have any helpful tips you want to share!
Nutrition Advice For Child Athletes
This article is for the soccer parents out there who give their unwavering support to their children from the sidelines. Shouting the loudest, jumping the highest and giving their children everything they need in order to succeed in the sporting arena. Back in the day, sports nutrition was relatively new to everyone with most being unaware of the physical benefits it could provide in performance.
Parents strive to give their little sports stars all the tools they need to be the best they can be. This should also include giving them the right food for pre-game energy and post-game recovery. To understand what type of meals you should be fuelling your child’s engine with for sport competitions, read the recommended tips in this article.
Through it all, remember to take care of yourself too. More on real food here!
Nutritional Needs of Child Athletes
Little sports stars have a higher energy and fluid requirement because they are involved in all-day competitions and strenuous endurance sports like competitive swimming. Besides getting the right amount of calories, it takes a variety of nutrients, vitamins and minerals to keep young athletes performing at their best:
Water and lots of it
It’s essential for child athletes to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Lack of fluids can decrease your child’s strength, energy, and coordination and potentially lead to heat-related illnesses. Even mild dehydration can affect athletic performance. Experts recommend that kids drink water or other fluids before and every 15 to 20 minutes during physical activity. It's important to drink afterward to restore fluid lost through sweat. Plain water is typically enough to keep kids hydrated. If your child is participating in a strenuous physical activity lasting longer than an hour, then you can consider a sports drink that is designed to provide energy and replace electrolytes like protein, sodium and potassium that your child will lose in sweat. After exercising for 60 to 90 minutes, the body has used up its readily available sources of energy. Sports drinks are also a good alternative for kids who participate in sports but won't drink enough water.
In 2011, the American Academy of Paediatrics published a statement on the use of sports drinks and energy drinks for children and adolescents, stating that they can benefit from using sports drinks containing carbohydrates, proteins and electrolytes but are of little benefit for the average child engaged in routine physical activity. For them, water is sufficient. During intense physical activities, whatever beverage a child will drink the most of is the best choice to prevent dehydration. However, the bottom line is that for most young athletes, water is the best choice for hydration. After the activity, carbohydrates and electrolytes can be replenished through nutritious food.
Game Day Prep
Here is a list to tackle your child’s game day:
It's essential to feed your child healthy meals and snacks consistently, even during the off-season. This will provide a solid foundation during times of competition.
So, that's it for now!
I'm heading out for the week with the kids, but hopefully I'll put something up again here soon! I've got some nice recipes lined up, and look forward to sharing them!
I hope your summer is going well, wherever you are & whatever you're doing!
Leave a Reply.
Hi, I'm Amy-Lyn!
I am the lady behind this here blog! I live in the sticks with my animals, my super handsome husband, and my
3 amazing kids!
Here you'll find things from recipes (gluten-free, paleo, and strait up junk food!), DIY ideas, thoughts on raising a son with autism, and whatever else pops into my brain! : )
Read more about me by clicking here!
Want to Stay Connected?