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  • Writer's pictureJulien Chamoun

Optimizing Nutrition for Youth Sports

Eating the right foods is very important for young athletes. When youth athletes play sports, their bodies need extra energy to run, jump, and play their best. Eating a balanced diet ensures maximum performance in their preferred sport. This means having meals that include fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains every day.

Proteins are like building blocks for muscles. Kids who play sports should eat enough protein to help their muscles grow and repair. Good sources of protein include chicken, fish, eggs, beans, and nuts. Protein shakes can also be included if an athlete finds it difficult to hit their protein needs. Eating protein with each meal helps keep energy levels steady and supports muscle recovery after practice and games.

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body. They give youth athletes the power they need to play sports and stay active. Whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal are great choices. Fruits and vegetables also provide healthy carbs along with vitamins and minerals that keep the body working well.

Staying hydrated is super important for young athletes. Water helps keep the body cool and prevents dehydration and cramps. Youth athletes should drink water before, during, and after playing sports. Sometimes, drinking sports drinks can help replace lost electrolytes, especially during extended periods of exercises, or if the temperature outside is too hot.

Finally, getting enough sleep is crucial for young athletes. Sleep helps the body recover and grow stronger. Youth athletes should aim for 9-11 hours of sleep each night. Good sleep helps improve performance, focus, and overall health. Working with a Registered Dietitian can help youth athletes hit their goals for nutrition, hydration, and good sleep.

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