It’s that time of year! Kiddos are headed to sports training camps and 2-a-days of all kinds! Prepping for a rigorous season is never easy whether you are a NFL quarterback or the quarterback for your 9th grade team. It takes lots of sweat, training and eating to be able to train day in and day out. Whether you are a mom, a grandma or a coach, there are some things you need to make sure your kids have while they train hard this August to get ready for the fall season. Here are 5 must-haves for sports camps of all kinds:
- Breakfast: Breakfast is the base to an athlete’s energy for the day. Without it they tend to fatigue quickly by mid-day. Ideally a breakfast of whole grain carbohydrates, protein, fruit and fluid will get them going for a day of hard work. However, if they are practicing early in the morning and can’t eat a full meal, send them out the door with a dense snack like trail mix and a banana, a PBJ and apple sauce or even a protein bar with a baggie of granola and dried fruit. Dense foods (foods with more calories per bite) require less bites for good nutrition and thus are great for early morning training fuel.
- Carbs: Carbohydrates are your children’s friend if they play sports as carbs fuel their activity. Many moms get their panties in a wad over the sugar in sports drinks or ready-to-drink recovery beverages, but the truth is if you are moving, sugar helps you. The simple sugars you find in these beverages digest quickly and thus provide almost immediate fuel for activity. If your child is training a lot, don’t worry about carbs – they need them!!!
- Salt: Just like your kids burn off sugar when they exercise, they also sweat out salt or sodium. Yes, it is true that dietitians tell the majority of the population to limit their salt intake, but not athletes! Salt is essential to help prevent cramping and keep kids hydrated. So, whether they salt their scrambled eggs, eat salty pretzels or drink a sports drink, that salt is helping replace what they lost in sweat!
- Fluid: It is hard to over drink in the summer months as it is so hot and in many places like Texas, so humid! In these environments, kids sweat more when training and need more fluid as a result. Water, sports drinks, milk, smoothies and the like all count towards daily fluid intake. Make sure your child is drinking up pre, during and post-workout as the results of dehydration are fatigue, muscle cramps, decreased performance and much more.
- Rest: Working out, especially twice a day, fatigues athletes of all ages. Extra rest is required to help them rebuild and recover. So, let your kids take naps between workouts and if they can, sleep-in on a Saturday, let them! Rest is required for proper recovery!
For more tips on fueling youth athletes, check my flipbook, The Sports Nutrition Playbook!