Student athletes need proper nutrition for performance

Making healthy food choices is important for all student athletes.

Proper nutrition for kids engaged in sports programs is critical and can be fostered through a variety of healthy food options. The amount of calories should not be the only consideration when making food selections. Choosing whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean proteins will optimize the calories with the nutrient dense properties needed for high fuel demand activities.

Understanding the benefits (or costs) from each food item is important. Take for example a blueberry provides an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber and manganese which is important for converting protein and carbohydrates into energy. Locating this type of information can assist in making food choices that optimize performance. High-carbohydrate food like whole-grain pasta, rice and bread are loaded with fiber. The fiber slows carbohydrate absorption, making it a better source of energy than refined grains.

Foods like oatmeal, yogurt, and dark leafy greens also top the nutrient dense and beneficial food list for athletes. Avoiding sugary foods and beverages that cause a spike in blood sugar, only to be followed by a drastic drop and the accompanying fatigue, is a good plan.

Proper hydration is essential to preventing the body from overheating and aids in removing the wastes produced from the body’s working muscles. Water is an excellent, low-cost way of keeping hydrated as long as enough is consumed when physically active. Chilled fluids are absorbed faster and help lower the body temperature.

Snacks that provide smart fuel and a power breakfast are important. Again, whole grains, fruits and vegetables are your go to sources for energizing fuel. Checking the nutrition label will help determine if a grain is whole or refined.

Powering up with healthy food provides that all important assist to any student athlete.

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