If your child plays on any sports teams or even participates on a swimming team, you know that he needs a lot of food to provide him with the fuel that he needs to power through a match, tournament, race, etc. But you may be confused about what foods you should be feeding your child athletes so that they can grow healthy and strong and not feel fatigued at the end of every practice or sporting event. If you are wondering what you should be feeding your child athlete every day to keep him or her in peak performance, read on to learn a few important tips to get you started.
Foods to Avoid
We will begin with what foods you should avoid feeding your child athlete. Because your child’s body needs to burn food for energy, you want to be sure you are feeding a proper, healthy, balanced diet every day.
You should always avoid junk foods, especially processed foods that you find on grocery stores shelves, like cookies and sugar-filled juices. Foods that contain artificial colours and flavours, and that are high in fat and simple carbohydrates should be avoided. So you certainly should not be feeding your child athlete a lot of fried foods or white breads that have been bleached and have had a lot of their inherent nutrients and fibre removed.
Foods that are Beneficial to the Child Athlete
While many athletes think they need a lot of protein to do well, your child will be getting plenty of protein as long as he eats a healthy, balanced diet rich in a variety of whole foods that are packed with nutrients that come naturally from the earth. When it comes to protein, stick with lighter forms of protein that will not weigh him down. You would be surprised at how much protein is inherently found in beans, legumes, soy products like tofu and tempeh, and even whole grains. Not only are these foods high in protein that is light and easy to digest, they also contain healthy carbohydrates and fibre, as well as antioxidants that keep your child’s entire body healthy.
Focus on providing your child with complex carbohydrates in the form of whole grains, like whole wheat or sprouted breads and multi-grain foods. You can provide healthy snacks in the form of nuts, like almonds, cashews, and walnuts, as these contain rich fatty acids that are great for brainpower, focus, and energy.
Be sure to also provide your child with plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the day. The antioxidants found in these foods will help your child’s body remain strong and they will also build up her immune system so that when she is out on the playing field, exposed to other children who may be carrying viruses and bacteria, her body will be able to fight off these potential infectious agents before they create any problems, so she will never have to miss a day of practice or an event because she does not feel well.