The food that a teen athlete takes into her body is the fuel that keeps her systems running and allows her to show what she’s got on the field. By paying attention to your teen’s diet, you can make it easier for her to give it her all and to ensure that she isn’t left without the energy she requires mid-activity. Certain dietary components are particularly important to teen athletes. When planning your teen’s menu, fortify her diet with the right elements.
Foods Connection to Athletic Performance
Many teen athletes discount the connection that their diet is related to their athletic performance. Nutrients from food give him the ability to move about the athletic field and keep up the pace throughout the game. Because food is so directly connected to athletic performance, these athletes can’t expect to go out with the team for a pre-game pizza and still perform to optimum levels during the athletic event that follows.
Eating Extra for Endurance
Because teen athletes burn more calories, they must also consume more. This does not mean that teen athletes should fill their diets with calorie-laden junk food. Your teen athlete should consume larger quantities of healthy foods, such as whole grains, vegetables and lean proteins.
Water consumption does more than just stave off thirst while your teen is on the athletic field; it also gives her body the pep that she requires to keep moving throughout the event. A typical human body is composed 60 percent of water. As teen athletes are likely to lose water through perspiration while they compete, they must take care to replace this lost fluid to keep their bodies functioning at peak performance levels.
Cram in Some Calcium
Calcium consumption promotes the development of healthy bones. Because teen athletes are still developing, they must consume enough calcium to feed their growing bones. Teens should consume light calcium options, like low-fat milks, yogurts and reduced-fat cheeses, as these foods ensure that your teen receives enough of this vital nutrient — without feeling full and sluggish on the playing field.
Keeping It Balanced
The most important factor to consider when planning a performance-enhancing diet for a teen athlete is whether the diet is balanced. Everyone — including teen athletes — should eat a balanced diet, consisting of an assortment of healthy foods. By doing this, you ensure that she is not deficient in any nutrient. If your teen is serious about her athletic pursuits, encourage her to be cognizant of the foods that she puts into her body.