Sports Nutrition Tips for the School-Aged Athlete

by in Back to School, Fitness, September 13, 2012

kids sports
Back to school also means back to sports. From elementary age to college-bound, these tips will help any athlete P.E.R.F.O.R.M their best.

  • Pick nutrient dense foods

Athletes need vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep those muscles pumping. Calcium, iron, Vitamins C and D, and B-vitamins can be found in dairy, fruits, veggies, breads and cereals.

  • Eat throughout the day

Nothing stalls metabolism like an empty tank. Eating every three to four hours is a must for peak performance in the classroom and on the field.

  • Recover

Eating the right foods after a workout helps build muscle and prepare the body for the next exercise session.  See our list of top recovery foods.

  • Focus on hydration

Dehydration leads to fatigue during exercise. To properly hydrate you need to drink all day. Athletes should have something to drink on them AT ALL TIMES to ensure balanced fluid and electrolyte levels. The more you sweat, the more fluid you need to replace.

  • Opt for chocolate milk

Low-fat chocolate milk has it all for proper post workout recovery: protein, carbs, fluid and electrolytes. If dairy isn’t an option, try chocolate soy milk.

  • Repeat…every day

Sports nutrition only works if it becomes a part of the regular routine, day after day. Be prepared, pack snacks and healthy meals so you’re always good to go.

  • Make the most of your diet

Athletes that make nutrition a priority see results.  It’s okay to indulge in not-so-healthy favorites on occasion, but the majority of the time, pass on the junk.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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Comments (1,262)

  1. Yvonne Greer says:

    Hi, I really like this post in light of the news report yesterday that showed that some schools are having their first lunch period as early as 9:30am and some of the school athletes are not eating anything before going to practices. But one thing surprised me…your recommendation to “opt for low fat chocolate milk?” I understand the nutrient and electrolyte profile but many would just say drink low fat milk of any flavor, while others say only white low fat milk due to the higher sugar content of flavored milk. I personally lean more to low fat milk consumption of any kind given the need for calcium for youth. It has been shown that milk consumption have dropped significantly for the last few decades and it is now considered to be a “calcium crisis” that could lead to increases in stress fractures in youth/young adults and osteoporosis in later life. I suggest that parents plan ahead to send a bag snack to have later in the day if the lunch meal at school is early. And milk should definitely be included.

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  3. @undefined says:

    I remember that when I was in elementary when my teacher taught about PERFORM. Until now I still remember it and added in my daily nutrition routine! Also, I just want to add something (if in case some might find this post useful) 4 Nutrition Tips That Can Fuel Your Performance… – nutrition tips that really works and can fuel your performance. This will emphasize your performance on daily routines with proper hydration, fueling and tips having good nutrition that your body needs. BTW, thanks for great article really worth to share!

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  6. Jodi Murphy says:

    The key to eating right while rushing to and from sports is to plan ahead! Know what days are when time is tight and pack good meals to go!

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    One of the greatest benefits of the nutrition diet as a weight loss tool is that it is low in calories. When your intake is a low calorie diet, the weight loss happens naturally. nice tips

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