For athletes, and all of us in general, what we eat determines how we feel and how much energy we have. I can always tell when my clients have not eaten breakfast. They just drag!
Our sons are giving their all at practice and at games for their various sports. One way that we as parents can help them perform to their maximum potential is to guide them in nutrition.
We all know that our kids need a balanced, healthy diet. Our boys are using a ton of energy and need a lot of calories to grow, build muscle, and perform at their best. Like marathon runners who “carbohydrate load” days before a race, what our boys eat days before a game or tournament can make or break them as well. By eating a lot of carbohydrates, a person is building up their glycogen stores (what the body uses for energy during intense exercise). If your kids are anything like my 13 year old son, eating like a horse, their glycogen stores are probably fine.
But, boys play hard and will often deplete their energy source by halftime. That is why it is a good idea for them to consume simple carbs at that time. Fruit is the best way to go. It is full of sugar that will quickly give them more energy.
Here is a Game Day nutrition rundown:
Drink lots of water.
Pre-game: 1-2 hours before the game, eat a high carbohydrate, moderate protein & fat meal. Examples: sandwich, bagel and peanut butter, meat and vegetables, pasta, etc.
Half-time: Eat simple carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores. Fruit!
Post-game: Within 30 min of game, eat a balanced carb/protein/fat snack (or meal) such as chocolate milk for recovery.
* I’m sure you have seen the Gatorade pre & post game drinks. They are a little pricey, but an easy way to have something in their bag for postgame. I buy my son those for tournaments. If nothing else, it’s a mental thing for him, I think.
This set up is not just specific to games. This is a great way to teach your boys to eat before, during, and after practice also.
If we can teach our children the importance of a healthy diet and teach them to think of food as fuel, we are giving them such a gift they will benefit from throughout their lives.