5 Tips for Feeding Physically Active Kids
Young athletes and children who are physically active need to eat more and to eat the right foods. This will ensure they always have energy required whenever they are playing or practicing their sport.
Helping them develop healthy eating habits for kids is a good start to ensuring they remain fit and capable of meeting the physical demands of their sport and other daily activities. Additionally, they need to eat the right amount and mix of foods to support their higher level of physical activity.
If you want to be sure your physically active children always perform their best on and off the field, follow these tips to nourish them properly every day:
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Make breakfast a part of their daily routine
All kids, whether athletes or not, need to start their day with a healthy breakfast.
For physically active kids, make sure you serve foods that have plenty of carbs and a moderate amount of protein. However, it should be low in fat because fat takes longer to digest and can lead to an upset stomach.
In addition, try to avoid giving them high-fiber foods too early in the day, especially just before a game. This is because high-fiber foods can also cause stomach upset, so it’s best to avoid these foods until after the game.
A well-balanced breakfast meal includes fresh fruits and easy-to-digest vegetables. As such, make sure you always have a plate of berries, bananas, avocado, and other fruits your kids can add to their bowl of cereal.
You will also do well to make fruit smoothies and vegetable omelets for breakfast as well.
Pack them healthy school snacks and lunches
Make sure your children remain energized while they are in school by packing them well-balanced lunches and snacks. These foods should also be loaded with carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.
If you are packing them sandwiches for lunch, use whole grain bread. Additionally, add fruits and vegetables to the protein. Great options include avocado, tomatoes, and lettuce.
For their snacks, banana bread muffins, organic granola bars, overnight oats, and fruit and veggie slices with a yogurt dip will ensure your kids will have enough fuel to sustain them as they go about their activities or practice their sport.
Remind them to drink plenty of fluids
Young athletes and active kids need to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration – a condition which can sap their energy and strength and cause heat-related illnesses.
Kids will lose a lot of liquid while playing or during a physical activity. As such, health experts recommend they drink before and every 15 minutes or so while they are engaged in a game or activity. Remind them to drink after practice, playing, or exercising to restore fluid lost through sweat.
Water is still the best drink to keep active kids hydrated. Another option is milk which you can give your little ones after their practice or game. Milk that has the right amount of carbohydrates and protein which will help them recover from a long practice or event.
To ensure your children get the most from this beverage, give them milk to drink within 30 minutes of their practice or competition.
Keep in mind that even mild dehydration can affect athletic performance, so remind your kids to drink water throughout the day.
Prepare refreshing snacks for halftime breaks
If your kids are athletes or join competitions, aside from giving them water, hydrate and cool them off with fresh orange slices, grapes, strawberries, and raspberries during halftime. These fruits are also great for boosting their energy as they continue playing.
It would be best if you place these fruits in a mini cooler so that they will remain cool and refreshing when your kids eat them.
Make mealtimes flexible
Lastly, young athletes and physically active kids who spend the entire day in school or outdoors often come home hungry. Don’t keep them starving by waiting for 7 p.m. to serve dinner. When your kids have been practicing or competing, serve dinner earlier.
You can also give your kids a hearty snack before dinner to tide them over. Again, make sure you give them something nutritious for their snacks such as fresh fruits and veggies so that they can replenish their energy quickly.
Nourishing young athletes and active kids isn’t too different from feeding those who aren’t. However, you always have to give them the right amount and mix of foods so that they can always be at their best when they are playing or competing. The right amount of nutrition will help them as they study and go about their other activities in school as well.