These game day nutrition tips for young athletes will teach teen and young athletes how to fuel up on Game Day. Young athletes need to understand the importance and timing of their meals in order to perform at their peak. To help your young athlete, we have put together these game say nutrition tips.
Breakfast On Game Day
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, it’s true! A balanced breakfast helps jump-start your brain. Your body’s fuel tank needs replenishing after a night’s sleep. Early efforts to hydrate with water or coconut water will allow your body to function more efficiently throughout the day.
It is important to start the day with a breakfast containing carbs such as whole-grain bread or oatmeal and a source of protein such as organic eggs, organic yogurt or organic cottage cheese. Oatmeal made with organic milk; a boiled egg with whole grain toast; or a smoothie made with fruit, organic yogurt and milk are all appropriate breakfast choices.
Game Day Lunch Time
Many young athletes compete after school which makes lunch an indispensable meal before a competition. You might think a light lunch such as a salad, or skipping lunch, will leave you feeling lighter on your feet, but instead, it may leave you feeling drained at game time.
Lunch should be consumed at least 3 hours before an event. Lunch should be nutrient dense and represent as many food groups as possible, including a healthy mix of whole grains, clean protein, fruit, and vegetables.
These nutrients not only aid in the performance of athletes, but they can also help improve their decision-making and ability to read plays during the game!
Make sure you have your water bottle with you and are drinking plenty of water. Ensuring you stay hydrated becomes more crucial the closer it gets to game time.
Two-Hours Before Game Time
Take this time to properly fuel and hydrate your body before competition. Consuming high-carb, low-fat foods that are digested easily will provide your body with the optimal amount of energy from carbs.
Dehydration is a recipe for disaster. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, especially in the two to three hours prior to the game.
One-Hour Before Game Time
1-hour before the game is the last chance to hydrate and provide your body with the fuel needed to compete at its highest level. Save sports drinks for an energy boost during sporting events that last more than an hour. Look for high quality sports drinks or make your own energy and rehydration drinks.
During the game continue drinking at regular intervals; about a 1/2 cup every 15 minutes and also afterward to rehydrate from sweat loss.
Post Game Snack – < 30 Minutes After
What you do immediately following a game will affect your performance in the next game. It’s crucial to replenish the fluids and nutrients lost while playing. You will need to consume an easily accessible carb and protein snack within 30 minutes after competition. This helps your body efficiently recover and repair muscles. A power-shake could include berries, almond milk, banana, and hemp seeds along with a high-quality whey protein.
Post Game Meal
A balanced meal 1 to 2 hours after competing is crucial! It is a must to give your body the essential nutrients needed for growth and development. After 2 hours, your body won’t be able to restore all of the energy utilized while competing unless you have the post game meal.
Keep your young athlete performing at their peak by following these game day nutrition tips for young athletes. Let their diet be their secret weapon to success!
Cathie Glennon – BCRPA/SFL, Rehabilitation Specialist
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