Sports nutrition for kids
Food Ideas for Sporty Kids
Fluids & hydration
Hydration refers to the level of fluids in the body. When the optimal level of body fluids fall, you are said to be dehydrated.
Dehydration can have a negative impact on performance; you could liken it to running a car without water: it is unable to maintain a cool engine and will stop running. When our bodies run on low levels of fluid, we tire early, and our performance decreases.
Hydration fluids in sport range from those that are unsuitable, to common forms, through to professional fluids. The choice of hydration fluid may depend on the level of competition, taste preferences, finances and access. All sporting fluids have advantages and disadvantages, which should be weighed up in relation to the individuals’ sporting needs.
- The ideal drink for a sporty kid is a natural or freshly made fruit juice, such as watermelon or grape, or a berry juice diluted with water. This not only quenches their thirst but is great for recovery of muscle energy. Let them sip it slowly during breaks to prevent dehydration and fatigue.
- Try to avoid the use of commercial sports drinks for children.
- Don’t let your child drink too close to exercise (leave a 20-minute gap) to avoid a tummy upset.
- Chilled drinks are best when your child is excising, especially on hot days.
- Fruit is one of the best things to replace lost energy, so a fruity snack straight after sport is great! Always pack snacks for your sporty kid to eat after they have finished, along with another bottle of plain water.
- Follow up with a healthy meal within about 30 minutes, if possible, or alternatively, a healthy snack with carbs and protein.
Food Before a Game
Eating a pre-event snack can ensure lasting energy throughout your event or training session (do not eat in the hour leading up to the event). Suitable pre-event snacks include:
- Toasted cheese sandwich (preferably on brown bread)
- Banana smoothie
- Bowl of wholegrain cereal and milk
- Yoghurt and fruit
- Boiled or poached egg on toast
- Healthy snack bar