The Nutrition of Young Athletes


Young athletes devote a lot of time to their sport. For their training to be as effective as possible, proper nutrition needs to be a regular part of their plans. Having a proper diet plan for individuals (especially young athletes) is essential as well as regular fuel for a car.

Because of a busy family schedule, planning healthy meals and snacks can be neglected. However, it is important to prioritize this task. The following benefits can be obtained from healthy eating plans:

  • Taking steps to prevent injury
  • Immunity enhancement
  • The muscles are less sore and tired
  • Muscles in recovery
  • The level of energy has improved
  • Long-term concentration and attention

Before practicing or competing, should you eat?

If you’re going to practice or compete, you should consume a decent-sized meal or calorie-filled snack to give your body time to digest. Be sure to eat 2 hours before your early morning event. You can boost your energy levels before practice with a small snack, especially if you practice after school.

The following snack ideas are often requested by my young athletes:

  • Granola bar with fruit, nuts, and grains
  • A cracker and peanut butter
  • Nuts and applesauce packets
  • With granola, yogurt
  • Food (bananas and apples) and nuts
  • Trail mix with nuts, dried fruit, and dried fruit
  • Cheese and pretzels
  • Peanuts or almonds on popcorn
  • The peanut butter sandwich or a ham, cheese, or turkey half sandwich

After practice or competition, do you need to eat?

You lose nutrients while training, but your body immediately replenishes them afterward. If you only eat a snack, eat within 15-60 minutes after completing an activity. After late-night practices or games, you may want to snack. It is not easy driving to and from practice! Ensure that your meals include lean proteins, grains, vegetables, fruit, and dairy products. If you can’t eat solid food after exercising, you can try liquids, such as white milk, chocolate milk, or yogurt-based fruit smoothies.  

Don’t Forget to Hydrate.

Stay hydrated by drinking pure water, milk, or 100% fruit juice

  • Juice should not be consumed in excess of 6-8 ounces per day
  • Milk should be consumed twice or three times daily
  • Daily consumption of water is essential.
  • If you exercise for more than 60 minutes, you should consult a Sports Nutritionist.

How does sports nutrition benefit athletes?

The purpose of nutrition for athletes is to provide them with energy. Taking care of our diet improves our performance, strength, and recovery.  The type of food we eat plays a substantial role in how well our bodies recover and perform after exercise, but also the time of day we eat plays a role. 

You need to pay attention to all the foods you consume, not just those you consume before and after exercise. During exercise, athletes should consume carbohydrates and a moderate amount of protein two hours before exercising. For your exercise regime to be effective, carbohydrates are vital. Post-training meals should contain protein to promote muscle recovery. During exercise, you lose carbohydrates. You need to replenish them.

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