Encouraging kids to be physically active is an excellent way to ensure they embrace healthy habits and an energetic lifestyle. There are many different kinds of sports, and physical practice should go hand-in-hand with good nutrition. That way, they’ll get the most out of their activity. Here, we’ll talk about key ingredients that must be on the plate for any budding athlete before, during, and after sport activities.
You probably already know how important a balanced diet is for children’s development. However, physically active kids might require a more specific healthy diet to make sure they are getting enough nutrients and to avoid injuries.
When does the body need which nutrients? What happens if certain kinds of nutrients go missing in an athletic kids’ diet? These are some common questions many parents ask themselves. If you’re one of them, keep reading to find out about their answers!
Drinks and foods to avoid before exercise
In order to prevent a kid’s blood sugar from dropping, it’s better to avoid any sugary foods and drinks before they practice. You should always choose water, which will keep their blood sugar levels and hydration under control. An easy alternative is squeezing some lemon into water, or to offer them coconut water. Fatty and high-fibre foods should also be avoided, as they may cause stomach discomfort if eaten just before exercising.
Before the practice
Around one hour before exercising, kids should have a light snack. If the sport practice is less than one hour long, carbohydrates are a good and fast energy source. Whole grain bread, healthy energy bars or a little bowl of pasta are all good options.
Regarding portions, they should grow with a childs age and size. Also, keep in mind that boys need larger portions than girls, as they burn carbohydrates at a higher rate.
If the practice is longer than an hour, adding some clean protein to carbohydrates is the answer. Proteins will sustain kids energy and help them perform for longer periods of time. Prioritise fish over other sorts of meat and make sure eggs are organic. Whole grains and vegetable proteins, such as those from legumes, nuts or seeds, are healthier alternatives to animal protein.
Adding calcium to pre-workout meals will also help kids to strengthen their bones and muscles. Calcium will also help prevent soreness after exercising.
Healthy habits during sport practice
Be sure your child drinks enough water before, during and after physical activity. To avoid dehydration, they can take small sips of water during their sport activity. It’s important to know that dehydration happens when they fail to replace the fluid lost with sweating. As for food, offer them bananas, potatoes and fat-free or low-fat yoghurt or milk. They contain carbohydrates and potassium which are important for post-workout recovery.
In a filling post-practice meal, it is important to include all five food groups on your kids plate. Make sure protein, grains, vegetables, fruit and dairy are present: baked or broiled fish and steamed vegetables are good examples. Complete the meal with some fruit or low-fat yoghurt.
As parents, it’s important to encourage your kids to lead an active, healthy lifestyle, as much as teaching them to take care of their bodies through healthy habits. This way, they will grow up to be healthy and active adults.