Everyone knows that proper nutrition is important, especially for athletes and even more especially for young athletes. What many people don’t know, however, is what, exactly, young athletes should be eating or how they can go about maintaining good nutrition. Fortunately, it’s simpler than you might think. Following a few simple nutrition tips can go a long way towards creating healthier, happier, and more successful young athletes.
Get Plenty of Carbohydrates
Ever since the Atkins diet became popular, there has been a school of thought that carbohydrates are “bad” in some way and should be avoided. This has gotten even worse with the recent Paleo and Keto trends going around.
In truth, carbohydrates are a good and very necessary thing to have in one’s diet, especially for athletes. They provide fuel and energy that athletes need in order to perform at their best. The key is to get in adequate amounts of good, complex carbohydrates, like whole-grain breads and cereals and whole-wheat pasta.
Always Eat Before a Practice or Game
Speaking of energy, young athletes should always make sure to fuel their bodies before a practice or game. Doing so will not only give them more energy and endurance in the activity at hand but will also help to reduce the risk of strain or muscle cramps. Good pre-activity snacks include nutritious foods with carbohydrates and healthy sugars. Stellar choices include:
· Whole grain toast
· Oatmeal or healthy cereal
Don’t be Afraid of Sodium
Speaking of foods and ingredients that people tend to be wrongfully afraid of, sodium is a big one that gets a bad name. However, athletes actually need plenty of sodium to keep their electrolytes and overall health in check, especially after they sweat and deplete their sodium levels in a game or practice.
This isn’t to say they should overindulge in salt, but getting a little sodium, especially before being active, can be super helpful. Adding a teaspoon of salt to food or having some pretzels can actually be a good thing for athletes.
If the young athlete in your life can follow these and other basic nutrition tips, it should be much easier for him to stay healthy for life!.