Kids can burn a lot of energy playing sports! Help your young athlete fuel up before and after the game with these tips from Rockwood Clinic Dietitian Jen Ropp:
Keep it simple and small; tummies that are too full don't perform or recover as well. Try to leave a little time before starting or after finishing the game before giving your child solid food to avoid an upset stomach.
Try one of these options for a healthy snack before or after practice or a game:
½ egg salad, tuna or peanut butter (preferably natural) sandwich on whole grain bread
Apple slices with peanut or almond butter
Whole grain crackers or mini bagel with cheese such as cream cheese, mozzarella, Baby Bell or Laughing Cow cheeses
Small glass of low-fat milk and graham crackers
Yogurt with fruit of choice- grapes, oranges, pineapple, berries, just to name a few!
Homemade mixed trail mix- Can add any dried fruit, nuts, seeds, small crackers, pretzels, etc. that your kids enjoy
Veggies or pita chips with hummus
Whole-wheat tortilla with vegetarian refried beans and sprinkle of cheese
It's important to stay hydrated, too -a general rule is to drink 8 ounces of fluid for every 30 minutes of vigorous activity or 60 minutes of less vigorous activity.This is even more vital in hotter temperatures.
Liquids such as low-fat milk, Gatorade, and fruit juices help replace water, salts, and carbohydrates that are lost during prolonged activity. Usually these are not necessary for the average practice or game day, but may be helpful on days consisting of multiple games lasting for several hours.
The biggest thing is to plan ahead and bring something with you from home in the form of food and beverages. This helps avoid having to grab something last minute, which may not be the best choice for your young athlete.
Jen Ropp has been a Registered Dietitian at Rockwood Clinic since 2006. She is also a Certified Diabetes Educator and is the Program Coordinator of Diabetes Education and Nutrition at Rockwood.