School-aged athletes need to energize their bodies with good nutrition if they hope to perform at their best. Whether it's playing football, swimming, or jogging, athletes need to eat a nutritious, balanced diet to fuel their bodies. Good nutrition, like any sporting event, has basic ground rules and nothing affects your ability to compete for more than good nutrition.
Eating the right foods helps you stay physically fit and reach your optimum performance. To reach your highest potential and maintain a winning edge, all of your body systems must be perfectly tuned using proper nutrition.
Eat a variety of healthy food and stay hydrated. The young bodies of student-athletes are still growing. It is important to nourish that growth and fuel the demands of strenuous exercise and organized sports.
That translates into eating a variety of foods every day - grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. The base of the diet should come from carbohydrates in the form of starches and sugars. Fluids, especially water, are also important to the winning combination. Dehydration can stop even the finest athlete from playing his or her best game.
Eat enough Energy, Protein, Vitamins, Minerals, and Fiber.
- Choose lots of brightly colored Fruits and Vegetables.
- Get plenty of Calcium. Calcium helps build healthy bones.
- Iron is important. Iron helps carry oxygen throughout the body. Iron-rich foods include red meat, chicken, tuna, salmon, eggs, dried fruits, leafy green vegetables, and whole grains.
- Protein for strength. Protein can help build muscles, along with regular training and exercise. Protein-rich foods include fish, lean red meat and poultry, dairy products, nuts, soy products, and peanut butter.
- Smart Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates or "carbs" provide energy for the body and are an important source of fuel for young athletes. However, there is no need for "carb loading" before a big game. Choose carbohydrates in whole-grain foods that are less processed and high in fiber, like pasta, brown rice, whole-grain bread, and cereal. Fiber also helps lower cholesterol and may help prevent diabetes and heart disease.
- Water, and staying properly hydrated, is key to an athlete’s success.
Without the right foods, even physical conditioning and expert coaching aren't enough to push you to be your best.Good nutrition must be a key part of your training program for you to succeed.
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