Proper Nutrition for Peak Performance
A healthy and balanced intake of food is important for everyone, especially children; this is because kids’ bodies are still growing. When is a better time than now to fuel kiddos with smart food decisions and all of the proper nutrients? Proper nutrition is critical for peak performance.
Food is a proven to link to energy levels, behavior, clarity and overall bodily health. The types off food ingested when training or exercising is especially important.
Discovering what proper nutrition can do will make all the difference in how the body reacts during training, competition and recovery.
What Food Does For The Body
Macronutrients such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins are major contributors to energy supply, which is extremely important for athletes in specific. It’s best to be sure that the cleanest and healthiest options of these macronutrients are ingested for top results.
Carbohydrates are directly linked to energy and are the primary source that the body uses while exercising. Ingesting the right carbohydrates will allow athletes to withstand longer training sessions.
Healthy carbohydrates include: fruits, vegetables, whole-grain cereals, breads and pastas.
Along with supporting energy levels, fats also contribute to healthy hormone levels and are a great transport for other nutrients throughout the body. Beware because not all fats are created equal.
Healthy fats include: avocados, nuts, seeds, nut butters, olive oils, and coconut oils.
Contributing to muscle growth and repair, protein is essential to keeping the body fueled for the next day and the next. The right kinds of protein will rebuild torn muscle tissue quickly and improve recovery time.
Healthy protein options include: lean meats, eggs, beans, legumes, tofu and yogurt.
Athletes need to be sure to ingest enough calories to support their bodies all day. They must up those calories if working out or training vigorously.
It’s also important to never skip meals or go too long in between eating. Keeping the metabolism engaged with food is critical for sustainable energy.
Every child’s activity level is different so the calorie intake will vary. Age 6 to 12 years old, the calorie range should be anywhere from 1,600 to 2,200 (depending on how physically active the child is).
Who doesn’t love a snack? Making proper snack choices at the right times is a great habit to get into.
It’s a good idea to have a snack pre and post workout. The pre-workout snack is to give the body fuel to endure the training session without exhaustion. The post workout snack is to begin muscle repair and replenish electrolytes and calories that were lost through sweat during the workout.
Don’t forget the H20! To read more about hydration, click here — > “Why Water is Important during Physical Activity”. The body loses water while exercising; dehydration will decrease performance and can ultimately cause some serious health effects, so it’s important to stay up on hydration.
Dos and Bewares When Making Food Choices
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables (5 servings per day). Fruits and vegetables are so colorful and color means different nutrient contents. They are packed full of essential antioxidants necessary in order to combat illness and aid in recovery. The natural sugars and healthy carbohydrates offered here will boost energy levels and provide that inner glow.
Select whole grain carbohydrates. Items such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa and fiber-rich cereals are great for sustainable energy and wholesome foods.
Choose healthy forms of protein such as lean meat (chicken breast, turkey, and fish), nuts, seeds, eggs and legumes.
Stay hydrated with lots of water, electrolyte beverages after workouts and 100% fruit juice.
Stay away from sugary cereals, white breads and refined grains as those are typically highly processed and include added sugars.
Avoid fatty forms of protein such as red meats, greasy burgers, chicken thighs/wings, bacon and sausage.
Too much juice or juice cocktail drinks are high in sugar, so drink them in moderation.
Highly processed foods should be enjoyed sparingly as they are not as nutrient dense as their whole food counterparts.
Don’t wait until thirst hits in order to take a sip. Stay hydrated throughout the day.
Conscious eating throughout the day, especially before and after training sessions, competitions or workouts is just as important as the skills in the training session. Keep clean eating in gear and your peak performance will shine!