Archive for Nutrition
Giving your kids the right nutrition is tricky enough, but when they are bodies in constant motion – also known as athletes – not only is it tricky, but it is really important, too!
Fiber is important in your child’s diet because it helps to keep the digestive system healthy so it can absorb nutrients and turn food into energy, prevent constipation, and maintaining a healthy population of gastrointestinal bacteria. All of these are essential for athletes!
And it’s easy to determine how much fiber your athlete needs – simply take your child’s age plus 5 grams of fiber each day. So if you have a 12-year old, she needs 17 grams of fiber each day.
Getting the fiber into your athlete’s diet takes a little planning, but like everything else in their athletic schedules, it quickly becomes routine! Head on over to the Snackpicks article on Kids and Fiber to get some simple ideas from this busy Mom (that would be me) on how to incorporate more fiber into your athlete’s diet.
Raising happy, healthy athletes is a lot of work, but according to a recent Gatorade report on Mom’s and youth sports, I am not alone when I say the extra time and preparation is something I gladly do.
Did you know that according to the Gatorade study seventy percent of moms are raising kids in competitive sports, creating a group of “Sports Moms” nearly 13 million strong? Or that Sports Moms spend one-third more time and more than twice as much money across their children’s entire span of extracurricular activities than moms without kids in sports? Despite this, 79 percent of Sports Moms report that it’s “no problem” balancing these added demands with their other responsibilities, further reinforcing their commitment to their kids’ sports.
Gatorade has created a new website for sports moms to help give us the resources to make our jobs a little easier – especially when it comes to nutrition. Sports nutrition is tricky stuff – especially when you are dealing with athletes of different ages, types of sports and genders. For example, my 14 year old son who swims a 2 hour workout needs a different kind of fuel than my 12 year old daughter who does gymnastics 12 hours a week, and that is different from what my 9 year old who plays field hockey 2-3 times a week and swims 2-3 times a week needs. But regardless of what sport they do, they all need to keep hydrated. Knowing how much fluid to give them and when keeps me on my toes and requires that I take the time to educate them, as well.
The Gatorade Moms web site is already packed with great articles by leading experts in the sports nutrition field and they are definitely worth taking the time to read and share with your teammates. Some of the more useful articles, in my opinion, are:
- Protein for Athletes, A Practical Guide
- Hydration: Critical for Performance
- On the Road Again: How to Choose High-performance Foods When Traveling
What’s your take? Is being a Sports Mom (or Dad) a role you enjoy or is it just too much?
My own daughter learned a really tough lesson this morning – you can not train on empty!
This is the first week of morning practices at gymnastics for the summer and rather than taking the time to eat breakfast, pack a snack or make her lunch … like her Mother (that’s me) asked her to, my daughter (who is almost 12) decided to take her time getting ready, fix her hair, and turned her nose up at the breakfast selections I had for her. I made a whole batch of cranberry orange muffins this morning – which two of my three kids gladly ate – but, no, she did not like them. She also decided the banana she was offered would not work either. She passed on the eggs, too.
So around 10 a.m. – one hour into her 3 hour gymnastics workout, she tells me she is feeling tired, weak and sick to her stomach (I coach at the same gym, but don’t coach her). Hmmm, maybe you should have had some of that breakfast. I offered her some of my pasta salad that I had packed. Nope, not interested. A teammate shared some pretzels and grapes with her and she came and got some money to get an energy drink, and then she perked up.
The moral of this story – picky eater or not, it is absolutely critical to fuel your body for the sports you do – especially if you have a long, morning work out!
As a parent it is can be difficult to make sure your athlete is getting everything they need and is properly fueled – and picky eaters don’t help matters any. After practice we had a little discussion and talked about the foods she likes and doesn’t and decided that planning her pre-practice meals ahead of time might help prevent this from happening again.
Sports Nutrition Resources:
- USA Swimming has a fantastic sports nutrition resource center on its website
- Feeding your child athlete
- American Youth Soccer Athlete Nutrition Notes
- The Athlete’s Plate: Real Food for High Performance
- Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook
Don’t forget to hydrate, too! While water is the best for hydrating your athlete, there are times when sports drink (recipes to make your own sports drink) does come in handy – for extra calories, a quick burst of energy during a long work out, and for picky athletes. I do like the new lower sugar options – like Powerade Play (which we recently had the opportunity to review) – the flavor is light, not too sweet and the extra electrolytes and calories do come in handy for long practices, outdoor practices and games.