Nutrition tips to boost energy in young athletes
More than seven million boys and girls across the country will participate in organized sports this year, and unfortunately, injuries are a part of every season. The mistake athletes, parents and coaches often make is overlooking proper nutrition as a sports injury prevention measure. A balanced diet to fuel your athlete is just as important as the right protective gear.
"What an athlete eats or drinks before, during and after a game directly impacts a player's performance," said Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, LMHC Board Certified Sports Nutritionist with the University of Miami. Shamrock Farms' Rockin' Refuel has teamed up with Dorfman to to get the word out about about proper sports nutrition to parents, coaches and athletes of all ages.
Dorfman, also the author of "Performance Nutrition for Football," explains that "most energy is focused on pre-game meals. I urge parents and athletes to pay as much attention to the post-game routine, where muscle recovery and protein are key." According to Dorfman, 80 percent of a player's performance comes from nutrition.
With this in mind, Dorfman suggests using the following tips for optimal nutrition and injury prevention during the season:
The Truth about Carbs: A pregame meal packed with only carbohydrates can actually leave athletes feeling tired and sluggish on the field. Make sure to also include items low in fiber and fat, like grilled chicken or low-fat yogurt with fruit before game time.
Three R's to Recovery - Replenish, Repair, Rebuild: It's important to refuel within 30 minutes to one hour of working out. Encourage athletes to reach for foods or beverages that are high in protein to help rebuild muscles, such as Rockin' Refuel, which is 100 percent real milk fortified with 20 grams of protein. It also contains a 2:1 carb to protein ratio, ideal for maximum muscle recovery.
Keep it Simple at Game Time: Look for simple mini meals that will fuel your athlete for the entire game, including foods that are good sources of complex carbohydrates, like whole grain pasta or brown rice. Grilled chicken, turkey, and canned tuna or salmon are good sources of protein, which is needed to help build a stronger body.
Whole Foods offer Wholesome Nutrition: Whole foods are always better than supplements, so make sure you read the ingredients on anything your athlete is consuming. Watch out for hidden ingredients in powders, shakes and drinks. For example, encourage your child to eat fruits and vegetables in order to get essential vitamins and minerals instead of taking a multi-vitamin supplement.
Teach Your Teen Healthy Habits: Teenage athletes, more than any other age group, are prone to pick the most convenient - instead of the healthiest - foods and beverages. Keeping your cupboards stocked with healthy grab-and-go food options like string cheese, dry roasted almonds, ready-to-eat cereal and single-serve bottles of Rockin' Refuel will help ensure teens will grab healthier foods.
Log onto www.RockinRefuel.com or visit www.Facebook.com/RockinRefuel for the latest tips and advice on how to eat and train properly to help keep you off the injury list.