Healthy Habits for Young Athletes
The following info serves as a “nutritional guide” for putting you on the right path. This guide is very basic in nature. For an in-depth look at your eating habits, you should contact a Registered Dietician (RD). You can also consult with Coach Jessica and Coach Justin, as they are both Precision Nutrition Certified (Pn1).
It is very important not to overlook the role nutrition plays in acquiring maximum physical development. What you eat on a daily basis helps determine your body fat levels as well as how much energy you have for intense, rigorous exercise. Whether you are trying to gain muscle, reduce body fat, or maintain your current stature – it is very important that you follow these basic dietary recommendations:
- A balanced diet consists of approximately 40-50% carbohydrates,
- 20-30% fat, and 20-30% protein, depending on individual needs.
- A serving of protein is approximately the size of your palm, a serving of fat is the size of your thumb, a serving of carbohydrates is a cupped sized that your hand can make, and a serving of veggies is the size of your fist. Strive to get a serving of each at every meal.
- Eat a variety of WHOLE foods that consist of vegetables, fruits, nuts & seeds, sprouted grains, rice, potato, organic protein sources such as chicken, fish, grass-fed beef, organic dairy products and organic eggs.
- LIMIT your intake of processed food (sugar, processed meats, packaged foods with a long list of ingredients, candy, soda, fried foods, and foods that have dyes and fillers).
- Drink plenty of WATER!
- Limit soda, juice, and caffeinated beverages.
- Eat at least 3-meals a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
- Make sure to have pre and post game/workout/practice snacks available when needed.
- Master the 5 State of Fitness Nutrition Rules (see Food Shelves Guide).
Weight Loss and Weight Gain For Athletes
In order to reduce body fat, you must consume fewer calories than you burn. To gain weight, you must consume more calories than you expend. To lose body fat, multiply your current weight by 15 (ex. 150 lb. athlete x 15 = 2,250 calories a day).
IN order to gain weight, multiply your bodyweight by 20 (ex. 150 lb. athlete x 20 = 3,000 calories a day).
Keep in mind that this is NOT a perfect equation. Caloric intake will depend on a number of variables. Your weight, activity level, quality of food, age, just to name a few. This is simply a starting out point. You must adjust as you see fit. You must also make sure to eat healthy foods NO MATTER WHAT YOUR GOAL is!!!
Sample Menu #1
Breakfast: Oatmeal, fresh fruit, eggs
Lunch: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on sprouted grain bread, carrot and celery sticks with hummus, almonds
Pre-practice snack: Fruit and nut nutrition bar
Post-practice snack: super shake
Dinner: Chicken, vegetables, potato, milk
Sample Menu #2
Breakfast: super shake
Lunch: nitrate free, organic meat on pita, veggies and avocado in pita, sweet potato chips
Pre-workout snack: 1 handful trail mix (no candy), dried fruit
Post-workout snack: 20-40 grams whey protein
Dinner: Grass-fed hamburger on whole grain bun, sweet potato fries, salad
Fluid Goals For Athletes
It is extremely important to be well hydrated, especially during the summer heat. Athletic performance can decrease dramatically when the body is low on water. You should aim to drink on a set schedule, don’t wait until you are thirsty.
- Drink 16 0z. of water 2 hours before competition.
- Drink 8 0z. 15 minutes prior to competition.
- Drink during the event (8 oz. every 20 minutes)
- Drink 24 oz. per pound of bodyweight lost during competition.
- Make sure to drink water throughout the day, and limit other beverages.
- Use sports drinks when needed or instructed by your Athletic Trainer at your school.
Nutritional Tips For Athletes
The goals for nutritional care for athletes are very simple:
Ensure that you are properly hydrated at all times (especially during times of active training and competition). Don’t wait until you are thirsty to start drinking water!
Consume adequate calories to meet growth and development needs as well as the extra needs of intense training.
Try and get the most of your nutrients form “REAL” food and don’t look for supplements as a cure all.
Adopt healthy eating habits that will last you a lifetime. Don’t bother with a “quick fix” or a temporary diet. If you are on a diet temporarily, then the results will only be temporary at best as well.
Design a meal pattern that fits your daily cycle and plan to eat several times per day using regularly space meals and snacks to meet your caloric and nutrient needs at that time.
Eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates (rice, sprouted grains, potatoes, quinoa), to provide the energy source to fuel your intense training and competition.
Try and consume a variety of whole foods in order to ensure that you get enough vitamins and minerals, especially vegetables.
- Eat lightly before competition.
- Eat complex carbohydrates and protein.
- Avoid “bulky” foods that may weigh you down.
- Eat slowly and chew well to avoid indigestion.
- Drink sufficient amounts of water.
- Avoid drastic changes to your normal diet routine immediately prior to competition.
- Consume carbohydrate rich foods and beverages as soon as possible after competition. A super shake works perfect here.
- Replace fluids that have been lost during exercise.
- Replace any sodium and potassium that has been lost during competition. Fruits, veggies, and salty foods work well for this.
- Return to your normal diet as soon as possible following the post game meal.