The Importance of Sports Nutrition for Young Athletes

 

2020-21 NFL Computer Predictions and Rankings Health & Fitness Parenting Sports & Athletics Sports and Parenting  young sports nutrition importance athletes  Proper nutrition is essential for kids and adolescents as it allows optimal growth and development. However, as young athletes train for long hours, their nutritional needs differ from their peers’ needs.

To optimize their training and boost their sports performance, young athletes need a healthy eating plan that will improve their energy and provide both for their growth and activity.

Why is Nutrition Important?

Besides giving your young athlete enough energy to engage in their exercise, healthy nutrition benefits the following:

  • Decreased muscle tiredness and soreness,
  • Injury prevention,
  • Strengthening of the immune system,
  • Muscle healing and recovery,
  • Increased focus and attention span.

Nutritional Needs of Young Athletes

Child athletes, engaged in competitions and strenuous endurance sports, have higher energy and fluid demands, and their nutrition has to keep up with their needs.

Besides getting the right amount of calories on their plates, they need a variety of nutrients to perform their best.

  • Protein helps young athletes build and repair muscles. Your child can get enough of it through a well-balanced diet that includes poultry, lean meat, fish, dairy, nuts, beans, and soy. Depending on their activity, athletes need anywhere around ½ to 1 gram of protein per pound of their body weight.
  • Carbohydrates are an essential part of young athletes’ nutrition as they fuel their bodies with energy. Make carbs a part of your child’s nutrition by including whole-grain foods, such as brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain cereals, and plenty of vegetables and fruits.
  • Vitamins and minerals are essential for your young athlete’s performance. For example, iron is necessary to carry oxygen through the body, so make sure your kid’s diet includes plenty of lean meat, tuna, eggs, salmon, leafy green vegetables, and dried fruit. Calcium helps your child build strong bones that can resist stress fractures and breaks, so ensure they consume enough of low-fat dairy products rich with calcium, such as yogurt, milk, and cheese.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are important for all the athletes involved in endurance, strength, and team-based activities. They are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, so they can speed up the recovery, lessen oxidative damage to the muscles, and reduce muscle soreness.

Nutrition Timing

Timing is also vital when it comes to sports nutrition for young athletes. Before practice or competition, the body needs a high-calorie snack or a well-balanced meal with enough time to allow for proper digestion. If the events happen early in the morning, young athletes should try to have breakfast at least two hours beforehand. For after-school training, young athletes should eat a snack 30-60 minutes before training.

Here are some popular snack ideas that you can include in your kids’ menu:

  • Crackers with peanut butter,
  • Yogurt with granola,
  • Fruits and nuts,
  • Granola bar with dried fruit or nuts and grains,
  • Half of a ham, turkey, or peanut butter sandwich.

After training, nutrition is just as important since the body needs to replenish nutrients lost during the training session. It’s best to have a meal or a snack within an hour after completing the activity, consisting of lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and grains.

If your young athlete doesn’t like solid food right after the exercise, chocolate milk or a fruit smoothie made with yogurt might be the perfect solution to get them going until it’s time for a snack.

Encourage Healthy Eating Habits

Healthy eating habits, unfortunately, don’t come naturally. As a parent, you need to encourage them in your children by modeling the desired behavior that your kid will mimic.

Set your children a good example by having your meals together as often as possible. Set regular meal and snack times, and try to include as many healthy meals as possible.

Make eating together a pleasant and positive experience. Encourage having meals as a family, at the table, so that your kids learn to eat without being distracted by TV or their cell phones.

Explain to your young athlete the effects of healthy nutrition on their performance using a language they can understand, depending on their age.

Also, avoid banning food that you consider “bad” or “unhealthy” so that your kids can develop a healthy relationship with food. Let them enjoy an occasional treat, and instead of criticizing them for making a “bad” choice, put more emphasis on the food that will give them the energy.

Don’t Forget to Hydrate

Your child athlete must drink plenty of fluids to keep themselves hydrated. Dehydration can lead to loss of strength, energy, and coordination, resulting in certain heart conditions.

Teach your kids and youngsters to drink fluid before, every 15-20 minutes during physical activity, and after it.

Plain water is always a great choice, but sports drinks are beneficial when practicing longer than 60 minutes, as they provide additional energy and replace electrolytes.

Young athletes need to stick to healthy nutritional habits, even offseason, as it will help them when the competition days come.

 

 

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Encouraging Your Daughter to Love Sports

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Many little girls are just as interested in learning about — and playing — sports as their brothers are. So if you want to raise your little girl with a love for sports, you can play a big role in encouraging such a fondness. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Get Playful at Home

There’s an entire philosophy of child-rearing called playful parenting, and the main point of it is to connect with your child while having fun. When you’re the parent of a son, this sometimes comes more easily. After all, it’s second nature to roughhouse with him or be more raucous and silly. Boys are seen as rough and tumble, with energy oozing from them at all times. So ideas for activities often include things like throwing a ball or playing your own version of water polo. But there’s no reason to count out the very same pastimes for your pint-sized princess. When given the chance, most girls will have a blast tossing a football with you or sharpening their ping-pong skills. Need extra ideas for play? Check out discount websites like Groupon to find affordable activities in your area, from miniature golf and rock climbing to bowling and beyond.

Consider Organized Sports

When you have a little girl, it’s often assumed that she’ll participate in dance classes or gymnastics. While these activities are great outlets for a young one, it’s important you don’t limit your daughter’s choices. She may never have asked if she could play basketball, but maybe that’s because she was never offered the option.

Whenever you and your spouse sit down to talk through decisions that impact your children, discuss the costs and logistics of all programs you’re considering. Once you’ve agreed upon which ones you can afford (and those that make sense as far as time commitments are concerned), have a chat with your young one. Tell her the five to 10 choices you would be happy to pay for (and drive her to and from), and ask her what interests her most. Be sure to include a varied list of activities, with organized sports in the mix. She may choose violin classes or a writing workshop, but she also may decide to try soccer. Giving her the ability to choose — and supporting her ultimate wishes — will make her feel empowered and will foster a potential love for that pursuit.

Take Her Out to the Ball Game

Sometimes there’s no better way to induce enthusiasm about sports than to take your daughter to a professional sports game. There’s something magical about stadiums, crowds, lights, food, camaraderie and competition that makes the whole experience larger than life to kids and adults alike. Now is the perfect time to catch an NFL game together, and down the road when other sports seasons pick up, you can make a date out of attending a basketball or baseball game. Make sure to get your tickets through a legitimate vendor, though, so you can be sure of authenticity. Then root, root, root for the home team! This type of activity will strengthen your bond and help your little one catch some of the excitement around professional sports.

As you aim to develop your daughter’s love of sports, make sure she’s getting plenty of exposure to all different types. Be playful at home, offer her the option to participate in organized athletics and take her to live events. She’s sure to catch at least a little bit of a sports fever and, if nothing else, you’ll have fun and make awesome new memories.


24 Science-Based Healthy Habits

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Infographic by Jack Milgram Custom-Writing.Org

Benefits of Team Sports for Young and Old

There is literally a ton of information online about the benefits of team sports.
We find the following infographic cuts through the noise a bit:

 

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Unlimited Potential!

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Sports Fitness for Baseball Training

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We have become aware of a free guide on baseball training. It is detailed, updated and comprehensive and packed with practical tips and advice.

You can find it here: https://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/baseball-training.html

Soccer Training Guide

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Here’s a detailed, multi-page guide on soccer training that is packed with tips and advice:

 

Soccer Training