Nutrition for the Young Athlete

As a Parent you must understand the importance of nutrition for the young athlete, indeed your child should eat a variety of foods to maintain health and to optimise performance.

I recommend you to start a healthy lifestyle of moderation and balance in your family diet habits as soon as you can by offering your young athlete (including all members of your family) an adequate nutrition that meet your vitamin and mineral body's needs.

I know that you have a busy schedules and you eat out more often but...Do Not rely on fast foods and convenience snacks because they are usually high in fat and they are not considered as a healthy habits in the nutrition for the young athlete.

What should You do to establish a Healthy nutrition for the young athlete?

  • Instruct your kids to drink fluids before, during and after each exercise to ensure hydration and prevent heat illness. Remember they must drink often not just when they are thirsty!

  • Persuade your kids to consume more of dairy products to assure adequate calcium in their diet. Calcium will help bones reach optimal mineralization, which will reduce young athletes risk of fractures during their athletic careers.

  • Encourage your young athlete to eat lean red meat at least three times a week, mainly your athletic daughter. Indeed, young females should pay particular attention to their iron needs because poor iron diet may cause a loss of girls' menstrual cycles and inadequate dietary intake.

  • Remind your young athletes to consume Milk more often (cheese and yogurt are not enough!). In fact milk is fortified with Vitamin D, which plays an essential function in calcium metabolism. So, remember less milk mean less vitamin D.

  • Encourage your young athlete to eat their cereal with orange juice rather than coffee...There is no Vitamin C in Coffee!
  • You choose not to consume milk products?

    Follow some Tips from The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP):

  • If you avoid milk because of lactose intolerance, the most reliable way to get the health benefits of milk is to choose lactose-reduced or low-lactose alternatives within the milk group, such as cheese, yogurt, or lactase-treated milk, or to consume the enzyme lactase before consuming milk products.

  • Your kids may consume calcium-fortified juices, cereals, breads, soy beverages, or rice beverages.

    Your young athlete must eat canned fish (sardines, salmon with bones) soybeans and other soy products (soy-based beverages, soy yogurt, tempeh), some other dried beans, and some leafy greens (collard and turnip greens, kale, bok choy).

    Keep in mind that the amount of calcium that can be absorbed from these foods varies.

  • You want to know what is a "Healthy Diet"?

    The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005, describe a healthy diet as one that:

  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products;
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

  • Remember...foods and fluids are the best fuels for mind and body peak performance of your Young Athlete.

    My Advice about Nutrition for the Young Athlete: Eat Smart & Drink a Lot!

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