It is very important for athletes to have a healthy diet. A healthy diet will support their ability to maximize their full potential while training and competing. Whether cooking or eating out, there are a few simple things to focus on to get great building blocks for your young athlete that can have a lifelong impact.
A healthy diet includes good protein like eggs, fish, beans, nuts, lean meats, tofu and low fat dairy products. Broiling or baking your meats is the healthiest way to prepare these highly nutritious proteins. Avoid fried and oily foods to optimize your success.
Foods high in complex carbs are important in the diet of an athlete. Examples of these carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, brown rice, lentils, most beans and whole grains. Simple carbohydrates like white rice, white bread and pasta should be eaten in moderation. Other “bad carbs” to avoid are the ones found in highly processed baked goods, breads and snacks.
Children older than 2 years of age should get about 30% of their daily calories from unsaturated fats. These fats are the building blocks of cell membranes, hormones, and brain matter. Excellent examples include nuts, seeds, and avocados as well as some oils like olive oil, flaxseed oil, and canola oil.
Foods to Avoid
Limit saturated fats for optimum health and success. Saturated fats are most commonly found in animal products like beef, lamb, pork, poultry, whole milk, cheese, and butter. Palm and coconut oils are also high in saturated fats. Avoid foods and drinks high in sugar like candy, soda, cupcakes, etc.
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