Get in the game with these five staples of a pint-sized athlete's diet that will keep your kids pumped for those extended periods of exercise without losing the vital nutrients they need in order to grow.
Get in Those Vitamins1 of 6
Calcium and iron are especially important for those little athletes to build strong bones and carry oxygen to all areas of the body. This means that your little one should regularly eat leafy greens (put some light cheese on top if they need some convincing). And be sure to serve up meat, eggs and fruits for iron.
Fluids, Fluids, Fluids2 of 6
Children are more likely to suffer from heat-related illness while exercising in the heat than adults, so fluids are twice as important. Be sure to hydrate before, during, and after exercise. Only give them sports drinks when they've been playing a game longer than an hour, otherwise you're just feeding them extra sugar.
Pay Attention to Lunch3 of 6
Light loading or skipping lunch is a bad idea, as this is typically just a few hours before after-school competition. Be sure your child loads up on as many food groups as possible, including grains, protein, fruits, veggies, and a little dairy.
Carbs = Energy4 of 6
Don't go cheap on the carbs—they are essential for the super active kid athlete. These are especially great 30 minutes to an hour before the big game to keep their tank full throughout lengthy stretches of activity.
Don't Forget Breakfast5 of 6
It holds true that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, especially for young athletes. Let them get in their proteins and grains in whatever way they prefer, whether that be some oatmeal or a bowl of cereal and some eggs.