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Nutritional Needs of Young Athletes

All kids in general need to eat a balanced diet and healthy meals. Kids are naturally very energetic and lively so they need a diet that supports their lifestyle. They need to eat the right amount and mix of foods to support that higher level of activity, especially if they’re kids who play sports or participate in various physical activities.

Kids who eat healthy and well-balanced meals will get the nutrients needed to perform well in sports. Normal kids’ diet could be used for child athletes, but the latter need higher energy and fluid requirements to keep up with increased energy demands. Most athletes naturally eats the right amount of food their body needs, but if you’re a mother of a child athlete and you’re worried that your child is not getting enough nutrients, or getting too much of it for that matter, here are what you need to remember.

Protein

Diet For Athletic Kids - Protein

Extreme physical activities might result in wear and tears on a child athlete’s muscles. It is important to remember that children’s bodies are not yet fully developed and fragile. To avoid muscle tears, protein is important as it helps build and repair muscles. This could be found in fish, lean meat and poultry, dairy products, beans, nuts, and soy products. However, it is important to watch your child’s protein intakes, as too much of it can lead to dehydration and calcium loss.

Calcium

Diet For Athletic Kids - Calcium

This is necessary in a child athlete’s diet. Kids’ bones are still developing and thus they are at first still weak, especially when they are really young. Calcium would help develop strong bones to resist breaking and stress fractures. This mineral could be found in low-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese and leafy green vegetables like broccoli.

Carbohydrates

Diet For Athletic Kids - Carbohydrates

A child athlete is a very active child, which is why energy is important for them. Carbohydrates are great sources of energy and without this kids will be running on empty. When choosing cards, focus on whole-grain foods like whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, whole-grain bread and cereal, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Iron

Diet For Athletic Kids - Iron

The younger the person is, the faster their heartbeat, which is evident when comparing a newborn’s heartbeat to an adult. Because of their faster heartbeat, blood travels faster all over a child’s body. This is for a normal child, what about an athletic child? During strenuous activities, it is normal for heartbeats to become faster, and this is why iron is important to a child athlete’s diet. Iron helps carry oxygen to all the different body parts that need it, and this oxygen travels in the blood. Iron could be found in lean meat, chicken, tuna, salmon, eggs, dried fruits, leafy green vegetables, and fortified whole grains.

Water

Diet For Athletic Kids - Water

Young athletes need to keep hydrated to prevent the loss of energy, energy and coordination that could lead to heat-related illness. Because of their physical activities, they sweat a lot, and it is important to restore lost fluid with water, which they could drink before and every 15 to 20 minutes during physical activity.

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