Nutrition For Our Little Athletes
As a mum to two very active boys I know the importance of making sure they eat well to refuel their growing bodies. But it can confusing for lots of parents to know what is going to help repair, rebuild and refuel their bodies the right way. We have this body of advice saying carbs and protein are important, and hydrating with sports drinks is great for recovery. We see it at almost all sports clubs of any code, sausage sizzle with white bread, bacon and egg rolls with tomato sauce, cans of soft drink, lollies, energy drinks and for the adults alcohol. I ask where is the nutrition in any of this for people that have just spent every ounce of energy they have? What is helping all the trillions of cells to recover and repair? Nothing… All they are feeding the body is sugar, empty carbs and highly toxic foods. According to the World Health Organization processed meats are classed as a group 1 carcinogen. They are in the same group as cigarettes, asbestos and plutonium! If these foods are that dangerous to our health why are we serving it up at kids events, canteens, and fund raisers?
Our bodies are made of trillions of cells and each cell requires minerals to function. When we play sports we burn up all the energy from all the cells within our bodies. So they need minerals fast to recover and rebuild, they only place we get the minerals is from fresh vegetables and fruit. They also need good protein, fats and complex carbs found in plant food, fish, free range chicken and grass fed meats to help with muscle recovery, cognitive function and metabolic function.
So what should we be feeding our little athletes?
Before training or playing a sport make sure they eat a meal full of good fats, protein and complex carbs.
My boys love chia seed pudding, with chopped nuts and seeds and a handful of organic blueberries, or a green smoothie bowl with fresh berries nut and seeds. Both of these options are full of good fats, protein, antioxidants and complex carbs. The best thing is that by eating this they will feel fuller for longer, because when we eat foods that have good fats and proteins they keep us feeling fuller for longer.
Eating foods full of sugars and empty carbs spikes our blood sugar levels and makes us crave more sugar when we crash. It is a very bad cycle and promotes poor diet habits which create poor health and increases the chances of things like metabolic syndrome which can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, non-alcoholic fatty liver, heart disease and even cancer. Not something I want to set my kids up for!
During training and sports we should drink plenty of plain water or coconut water which is really good for re hydration, a homemade energy ball with natural plant protein and good fats with small amount of fruit is great to snack on during sports. It will give a great boost of energy and and with mostly good fats they burn fat for energy which is a more sustained source of energy.
After training skip the fatty oil soaked sausage, white bread and energy drinks. Instead we should have eggs scrambled, poached or fried with fresh salad like tomato, baby spinach, cucumber and carrot with a green protein smoothie containing avocado, banana, kale, celery plant protein and greens powder. All these foods help the body to recover, rebuild and repair muscle damage, energy levels and cell damage. They also help to cleanse the blood and re-oxygenate the blood.
There is a wide variety of foods to choose from and many meals you can make to help your little athletes perform at their best, theses are just a few of the things we eat in our house before and after training.
Its up to us as parents to make sure we provide nourishing healthy foods and drinks that help build immune systems, good gut health, healthy minds and set our kids up for life.
In Good Health