Feeding Your Child Athlete

28 August, 2017

If you are raising a young athlete, it is imperative that you understand and meet their nutritional requirements in order to ensure that they’re fuelling themselves appropriately for their training regime. CaliKids Academy always recommends consulting a nutrition expert, but as a rough outline, the following tips are generally considered to be suitable for most typical child athletes.

The right nutrition is also important when it comes to helping your child recover from what could be a rigorous training schedule, and of course nutrition is always important because your child needs to be able to grow and develop properly regardless of whether or not they are an athlete. Individual children will of course have different specific dietary needs depending on a variety of factors such as any health conditions and the nature of their chosen sport and its required training.

Before Training

 

Photo: CaliKids Academy

A few hours before your child is scheduled to train, have them eat a balanced meal that contains nutrient dense complex carbohydrates and protein. Complex carbohydrates release energy more slowly than simple carbohydrates and so your child’s energy and insulin levels won’t spike rapidly and then crash soon after. This will help to keep them energized throughout their training session. Whole wheat toast with scrambled eggs and fresh orange juice makes for a great pre-training meal.

During Training

 

Photo: CaliKids Academy

It is critical to keep your child adequately hydrated during their training – dehydration can lead to nausea, dizziness, heatstroke and worse physical symptoms. Bearing that in mind though, it is also important not to ply your child with too much water or other fluids whilst they are training, as this can also make them feel sick and cause them to throw up, particularly if their training is especially intensive. Frequent but small sips of water will generally suffice. If their exercise goes on for a fairly long time, it can also help to have small carbohydrate and potassium rich snacks on hand to replenish their strength and endurance. Carbohydrates provide energy and potassium prevents things like muscle cramps. Foods such as bananas and certain granola bars can hit just the right spot.

After Training

 

Photo: CaliKids Academy

At this point it is prudent to have your child drink a larger quantity of water in order to restore their hydration levels. As with pre-training nutrition, carbohydrates and protein are essential at this point. Protein is especially important if your child’s training involves weight or resistance training as these activities break down the muscles and protein is therefore the key to repairing and rebuilding these muscles, which is how they develop and grow stronger. Fish, beef and eggs are all great foods with high levels of protein.

 

In order to help your child be as healthy as possible and perform optimally, it is important that you be familiar with their unique dietary requirements as determined partially by the demands of their training. Consult with a dietary professional or come in to CaliKids Academy today to talk with one of our trained and qualified coaches!

Amelia Nguyen (Calipso)

Find out more about CaliKids Academy:
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