Is Your Kid Athlete Eating the Right Foods?
By Peg Rosen
Is your kid athlete eating the right foods? Whether they’re scrambling for outfield hits, sticking back handsprings on the mat or swimming laps, kid athletes put heavy demands on their developing bodies. “Eating well has a significant impact on their performance both on and off the field,” says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, R.D., a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and director of wellness coaching at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
Here are some expert food tips to keep your kid athletes in top form:
Fuel ’em with complex carbs: “The big difference between the nutritional needs of young athletes and their more sedentary counterparts is their greater demand for complex carbohydrates, which gives them the energy they need to perform,” says nutritionist Ilyse Schapiro, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., who practices in Westchester County, N.Y. Fruits and veggies — plus whole-grain breads, pastas and rice — should make up 55-65 percent of their total daily calories, versus 40 percent for nonathletes.