Fueling our kids for sport!
Healthy eating is important at every point in life. A good diet helps kids grow, learn and play. Food is fuel for our body, and proper nutrition will keep you feeling fit and strong.
Our muscles need glucose for fuel and muscle recovery. They get glucose from foods called carbohydrates like bread, rice, potatoes, cereals, and pasta. When we eat these foods, our body converts them into glucose and uses them as fuel. That is why it is so important to include carbohydrates at each meal and before and after sports.
Our muscles also need protein for maintenance and repair. Protein foods include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, dairy, beans and pulses. It is always best for kids to get protein from food instead of supplements. Include protein-rich food with each meal.
Fruits and vegetables will give us the vitamins and minerals we need to help support our immune system and keep the body strong and healthy. A good idea can be to include a colourful fruit or vegetable at every meal and maybe 1 or 2 snacks.
And lastly, hydration! Water is the ideal choice, but what is most important is that you are getting enough fluid. When we are well-hydrated, our bodies can transport all the nutrients to our cells and help carry waste material out of the body. Hydration also helps lubricate our joints that are working hard in sport! Sometimes, if exercising for longer than one hour, we might suggest sports drinks, coconut water or having some fruit to help replenish electrolyte stores in the body.
- Always eat breakfast! Fuel the body to start the day with:
- Porridge or cereals with milk and berries
- Eggs and avocado on toast with a glass of milk
- Nut butter and banana on toast with a glass of milk
- Yoghurt with granola and fruit
- Bagel with cream cheese and berries
- Don’t forget to snack! Snacking helps to keep a steady supply of energy throughout the day, whether you’re training that day or not. Prepare snacks ahead of time so you can have them on the way to or after training. Aim for 2-3 snacks per day!
- Cheese and crackers
- Cereal bars / crackers / toast/ breadsticks
- Fruit/vegetables with dip
- Nuts (if over 5)
- Nut butter with apple or banana
- Cereal with milk
- Flavoured milk
- Refuel after exercise. It is important to refuel muscles with some carbohydrates and protein. Flavoured milk or smoothies made with milk or yoghurt are popular recovery options, as they provide protein, carbohydrates, and fluid! But sandwiches, cereal bars, fruits, nuts and dried fruit are all good options too.
- A homemade isotonic drink can be useful for long matches or in warmer weather, e.g. 1/4 cup of blueberries & raspberries, 300mls water/coconut water and a pinch of salt.