Teen Atheletes Require Good Nutritional Practices
The amount, structure and timing of food intake does have an affect on sports performance. Clean, healthy nutrition practices can help athletes train harder and recover more quickly as well as helping to prevent disease and injury.
Having the right food intake can help athletes:
- Have higher energy for training
- Increase stamina
- Improve recovery time
- Increase strength
- Reduce chances of minor injuries
- Reduce mood swings 😉
- While also helping with the excessive brain and body development that happens at this time of life!
During childhood and teen years, development and growth is quick and constant. This increases the demands for complete nutrition in young athletes due to high energy expense in addition to rapid growth.
A teen athlete’s diet needs to provide Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and provide energy to fuel their rapid growth, training and recovery. (And, yes, I said carbs and fats! We’ll get to that😉) But, according to Sports Nutrition for Young Atheletes by Anita Bean, there are no specific values for young athletes. Not enough in depth studies have been done on teen athletes, just adult athletes. My guess is that teen athletes are more difficult to study, and there are a lot of factors that need to be considered outside of food and training; like hormones!
I will try to give some basic guidelines here, but, as always, consult your pediatrician before changing your child’s diet. Also, consult your CHILD before changing their diet.😉 Involving them in the planning and preparing of a clean diet is more likely to get them to eat it!
Because food is a complicated topic for most people, let alone kids. I’m going to cover some of the things I have found to be integral to a healthy athlete both as a coach and as a mom. I will break these topic down into 3 topics:
- Food catagories – why they are needed.
- Food timing – what you eat when can make a difference in healing and recovery
- Food obsessions – there are many sports and activities that have an expected body image. This takes its biggest toll on teens who are at the height of body development.
My next post will cover the basic food categories and why your athletes need them.
Till next time!!