Children’s Sport Nutrition
Now that you have your child geared up in the latest, most technical and fun sports gear, they should be ready to head out and get active. Having the correct shoes and functional sports clothing is imperative to achieve your child’s sporting goals, however another major emphasis should be to focus on your little athlete’s diet. Not only is it important what is on the outside, but it is extremely important to focus on what you are putting in the inside. Proper nutrition should be focused on at an early age to ensure that your child is performing at his or her absolute best. It is never too early to start building your future superstar.
When focusing on diet and nutrition for your little athlete you have to remember that an active child needs more energy and proper fueling. For example, “kids that participate in sporting activities require more carbohydrates to fulfill their energy supply while they are practicing, competing or performing. According to KidsHealth.org, if your child is eating healthy, well-balanced meals and snacks, he is probably getting an adequate amount of nutrients he needs to perform in sports.”(Accessed at: www.livestrong.com/article/352235-healthy-diet-for-athletic-kids/#ixzz2Co6J0K95) It is important to be fueling your child every few hours with healthy, well balanced and nutritious snacks as children are highly active and are constantly burning energy.
In order to get adequate energy you must round out your child’s snacks with a balance of carbohydrates, calcium, protein and Iron. Also, keeping your child hydrated with lots of fluids is beneficial to avoid dehydration, headaches and fatigue. If your child is active for over one hour it is recommended that your child replaces their fluid loss with some sort of electrolyte drink. For a natural alternative for electrolytes look out for coconut water, this is filled with natural Potassium and Minerals that you may lose during physical activity and continuous sweat.
An active child should be consuming anywhere from 1,600-2,500 calories in a day and even more depending on your child’s activity. To help ensure that your child is receiving this amount of energy a balance of Protein and Carbohydrates to guarantee that they have a sufficient supply of slow burning energy.
Healthy Snack Ideas:
1. Peanut Butter (all natural-no added sugars or oils) and Banana Sandwich on Wholegrain Bread.
2. Wheat Bix Cereal and Milk ( Or Milk Alternative such a Soy, Almond or Rice)
3. Homemade Smoothies with Strawberries, Banana, Milk, Ice, and Vanilla and for a sneaky addition of Veggies throw in a handful of Spinach. I promise they won’t even know. For additional Green smoothie recipes check out: http://natattacks.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/an-ode-to-green-smoothies/
4. Veggie Crudités such as carrots, celery, capsicum, broccoli and hummus.
5. Homemade muffins made sweet or savory.
6. A bowl of cottage cheese with apples, pears or bananas.
7. Homemade trail mix made with nuts, dried fruit, pretzels and chocolate chips.
8. Homemade energy balls.
Healthy Chocolate Fudge Bites
Adapted from: www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com
(Makes 10-14 balls)
These were inspired by this recipe.
■3/4 cup pitted dates (120g)
■1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
■1/16 tsp. salt
■2 tbsp. cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)
■2 tbsp. shredded coconut
■1/3 to 1/2 cup raw pecans/ or walnuts/ Almonds
■optional: feel free to add some chocolate chips
Blend all ingredients together very well. (I recommend using a food processor.) Squish the dough together. (I transferred the dough to a plastic bag then smashed it together in the bag. It’s much less messy this way!) Roll into balls, cookie-cuttered shapes, or bars… or you can even use it for a pie crust!
Now that your child is fueled properly and ready to hit the field in his or her functional fitness apparel he or she will be scoring goals, running faster than ever and reaching new limits daily!
-Courtesy of Natalie Wolfsdorf. Author of NatAttacks.Wordpress.Com