USDA Children’ Research Center BCM
young athletes about good nutrition should be as important
as teaching them the skills of the game.
coaches and parents overlook this important part of the
training process," said Becky Gorham, a registered dietitian
and research nutritionist at the CNRC. "It's up to parents
and coaches to learn and teach kids what is good for the
how much to feed young athletes, what to feed them, and
when to feed them is important. "Foods high in carbohydrates
will provide athletes with the energy their muscles need,"
said Gorham. High carbohydrate snacks are recommended to
meet the energy needs of young athletes.
exercises can strengthen bones, but only if there is enough
calcium in the diet. "Young athletes should also be encouraged
to eat at least four servings a day of calcium-rich foods
like milk, cheese, and yogurts," said Gorham.
things hamper performance faster than dehydration. "Children
should drink three to eight ounces of water every 15 minutes
of practice to avoid dehydration," said Gorham. "Children
need to be taught, and reminded during workouts, to drink
water even when they are not thirsty, because thirst is
not an accurate measure of hydration."
to popular belief, vitamin supplements will not provide
a direct source of energy for young athletes. If the child
is following the guidelines from the USDA Food Guide Pyramid,
vitamins are not necessary.
young athletes with healthy food choices is one of the keys
to helping them reach their full athletic potential," said
Gorham. "'And in most cases, these healthy food choices
will stay with them for the rest of their lives."
high-carbohydrate snacks for young athletes:
ready-to-eat cereal with low-fat or skim milk
fruit flavored yogurt
butter on whole wheat toast and 1/2 apple
meat on pita bread with ½ cup orange juice
or animal crackers and a box of raisins
frozen yogurt and 100% grape juice
raisin cookie and low fat milk
pudding Bagel and 100% apple juice