Sports Nutrition For Kids
If your child is passionate about a particular sport, it is only natural for you as the parent to want them to be the best they can be at it. Many parents even dream of watching their little angels go the distance and reach the highest possible point they can achieve in the sport.
This natural desire pushes parents to do a lot of things for their children. Some will save up and buy them all the latest professional-level gear. Some will sign them up for individual classes or skill-based coaching. None of this comes cheap. Some parents pay lots of money to give their budding stars a shot at the big leagues and give them an edge over their competition.
However, what if there was a more straightforward, cheaper way to do this? What if you no longer needed the flashy equipment or the extra coaching lessons? Well, you don't, because there is a better way to enhance your kid's athletic performance. And what is that, you ask? Nutrition.
Nutrition is the word that defines the food that your kid eats. Ironically, it is one of the most underutilized and misunderstood ways of elevating your child's athletic performance. In truth, it is so simple and straightforward! As long as you have better nutrition, it immediately translates to better performance on the field. If your child eats right, they will perform better.
And the best part is that there is no need for expensive supplements or protein powders. The secret lies in regular, real food that your kid already eats. It is merely a matter of educating yourself and tweaking your options to suit the needs of your child better. Avoid supplements, especially for younger athletes, because they are volatile and may adversely affect their health and performance.
Here is the gist of it: Instead of focusing on the latest fad diet, or over analyzing a particular superfood, look at the bigger picture. Here is how to do it:
What to Eat
As a budding athlete, the options may seem endless. However, the rule of thumb is simple - stay away from:
● Processed food
● Fast food
● Desserts and sweets
● Sugar-sweetened beverages
Their diet should be predominantly made up of:
● Natural protein sources
● Whole-grain foods
● Milk and dairy products, or their equivalent substitutes
Focus on eating a regular meal because it is filling and comes packed with essential nutrients that assist in the development of the young athlete. Stay away from protein bars and other such diets, because, in the end, they almost always do more harm than good.
Also, avoid experimentation. There will always be a new fad or miracle diet out there. Instead of jumping onto a bandwagon, consider establishing your diet and sticking to it no matter what. Let your body get used to a particular pattern, and nourish it well every day. You will see this translate to better performance on the field.
How to Eat
Nutritional needs of the body will vary in different situations. For example, if your kid is a baseball player, their bodies will have different requirements for training days and competition days.
For a sport like baseball, training days demand carbohydrate-rich foods like potatoes and bread. Competition season, on the other hand, requires a combination of regular carbohydrates and fast carbs like dried fruits. When you select the right carbohydrate type, it translates to better results on the field.
When to Eat
Athletes will need to eat at specific times to better fuel their performance and recovery. Sticking with the example of baseball from earlier, right before a game, your kid should stock up on carbs by eating a carb-based snack. Carbs will fuel and prepare the muscles for the task ahead.
Immediately after the game, they should have some proteins to help the muscles recover. Doing this will have a significant impact on their performance.
Create a routine of snacks and meals and do your best to stick with it. Make sure all the essential nutrients are available to them throughout the day. In this way, you are focusing on nutrition as part of a bigger picture, resulting in better sports performance.