Are your kids passionate about sports? They probably spend a great deal of time and energy training for competitions. You should do your part to ensure that they can perform at their best by providing them with the right nutrition.
Fuel for competitions
With competitions around the corner, athletes set goals that they want to achieve. They often step up their training and learn what they can in order to give their best performance.
Nutrition can make or break the performance of a young athlete. It is important to ensure that your children are properly fueled and hydrated for peak performance.
- Competition week – The week before a competition is crucial. That’s when a well-balanced diet and plenty of water are needed to replenish their bodies following tough practices. A diet rich in carbohydrates, lean protein, fruit and lean vegetables will be adequate. Carbohydrates such as brown rice, oats, potatoes and pasta will do well in replenishing glycogen levels after a grueling practice session. Avoid giving your child empty calories. These include foods that are high in sugars and saturated fats such as baked treats, chips and candies.
- Competition day – Timing is important on competition day. Ensure that the athletes eat at least 2 to 4 hours before they compete. Our muscles make use of glycogen as a stored source of energy. A good breakfast will make a big difference on competition day.
You should also provide them with a snack such as a granola bar, fruit or protein bar that they can have prior to the competition if they will be competing several hours after breakfast.
Water is easy to forget. Ensure that you pack some water and food, especially when travelling a long distance to and from games.
Sometimes, athletes are just too nervous to eat before competing. You can encourage them to eat by providing them with a simple meal such as yogurt, oatmeal or a smoothie. If their nerves are just too much, you can offer them a bland meal such as plain crackers. They’ll need the carbohydrates for fuel for their muscles.