By: Hillary Monroe, MS RD LDN
The holidays present a unique set of challenge for parents of athletes. Not only are you juggling family, food, friends and gifts but, if you are like many sports parents, you also have to fit in the kids' holiday tournaments. The good news is there isn’t too much that changes nutritionally, other than a little advance planning.
To help on-the-go sports parents, here are four important sports nutrition points to remember and some tips on how to plan ahead for the hustle and bustle of the holiday tournament and sports season:
1. Drink up: I know this is often mentioned, and for good reason. Our bodies are 60% water. We can’t store it, so it’s truly critical that young athletes some of the electrolytes in addition to the fluid lost. Remember that kids don’t always realize they’re dehydrated, so encourage proper hydration before, during and after competition. get enough. If the competition goes longer than an hour, be sure you have a sports drink on hand. This will help replace
Plan for the road: Keep water bottles or sports drinks with you or in the car just in case. Drinking regularly is the best preventative step.
2. Load up: Before a competition or workout, the best thing for kids are carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the most important fuel because they are what muscles prefer to burn. The body only stores a small amount in the liver, in the form of glycogen, so it’s important to head into a tournament with those glycogen stores fully loaded. Give your kids what they need on the road with a high carbohydrate meal like pasta or a peanut butter sandwich up to four hours before. An hour to 30 minutes before, provide your kids with simple carbohydrates. Avoid foods with high fiber since fiber slows digestion and can be detrimental to the athlete just before a competition.
Plan for the road: Pack double quantities of sports drinks and fruit for hydrating and pre-competition snacks.
Time to plan, not experiment
Hillary Monroe, MS RD LDN, is a Registered Dietitian and writer for Everyday Health Calorie Counter.
Posted December 3, 2012