Do you find yourself spending more days of the week during sports seasons at practices and games for your kids than you do at your own home? Well then, this article is for you! We've been there. Trust us!
Your athletic teen and their growing body have special needs. Of course, job one is making sure they are getting all the basics of a healthy, well-balanced diet. Beyond supplemental nutritional needs provided by us here at SimplifiveHealth.com, your athlete's performance will be boosted by ensuring you are covering the following bases as well:
- Making sure they are eating enough to their growth and energy needs.
- Keeping them well hydrated; making sure they are drinking enough to replace any fluids lost during practice, exercise and games.
- And, speaking of training, you likely want to spend time thinking about planning to ensure adequate recovery between sessions.
Make sure your athlete is drinking enough water before, during and after they partake in physical activities. Condition them not to wait until they feel thirsty before hydrating as thirst is a sign that your body has needed water for a while. As a matter of fact, if a sporting activity lasts more than 50 minutes, it is recommended that you have an isotonic sports drink handy to replace fluids.
Since many store bought isotonic drinks contain sugar, here is a simple isotonic drink recipe you may want to try if you want to save some money:
Isotonic Drink Recipe
- 17 oz. Fruit Juice
- 17 oz. Water
- Pinch of Salt
Fuels for Performance and Exercise
So, you may have heard that Protein is needed for muscle growth and repair. But some may misunderstand that Carbohydrates and Fat are the two main fuels for your muscles during exercise. This is an important distinction to remember and teach your teen athletes. Otherwise, they may come to look at carbs and fat as all bad when they aren't bad, especially for the growing body.
It is important to include carbs at every meal and snack time for your young athletes. Since the body only stores a small quantity of carbohydrates, it will be important for your young athletes to keep their carb fuel tank topped off! As a matter of fact, the more physical activity they undertake, the more carbs they will need to consume. If you don't believe us, just look at the unreal carbohydrate rich meals that the greatest American Olympic swimmer of all time, Michael Phelps used to eat while training for the Olympics. Please note that we do NOT recommend this diet for young athletes. It simply illustrates this point, to a large extreme! Here are some types of foods that offer great sources of Carbs:
- Potatoes, Rice and Pasta,
- Bread and Pizza,
- Standard Breakfast Items and Snacks (Avoid sugary carbs found, for example, in certain sugary cereals)
Fat is OK. There we said it! What's more, everyone needs a certain amount of fat in their diet each day in order to stay healthy. Great examples of healthy fats include:
- Nuts & Avocados,
- Vegetable Oils,
- Oily Fish (i.e. Salmon, Tuna, Cod, etc.) - OK, we understand that fish may be a hard sell but it's worth a try!
As we indicated earlier, our bodies need protein for growth, maintenance and tissue repair. Excellent protein rich foods include:
- Lean Red Meat,
- Chicken and Turkey,
- Low-Fat Milk,
Of course, we could go to much more detail than we have given in this article. We are just scratching the surface and giving you lots to think about here. So, please feel free to think over and discuss what you've read here and, of course, plan on investing plenty of trial and error into this process; especially when it comes to the picky eater. Keep in mind too that, food allergies will require modifications to this high level plan.
In closing, we'd be remiss if we didn't encourage you to also explore and discover the Athlete Support products offered by SimplifiveHealth.com. We have developed a product category dedicated exclusively to a complete array of Athlete Support products. You can visit it directly by clicking on THIS LINK HERE. This bundle of specially formulated products has been created to bring out the best in our athletes as well as yours!