Yesterday, a reader, Amy, sent me this question:
My boys are 9 and 12 and I am interested in sports nutrition for kids. Do you know of any good sources? These would need to fit along with our clean eating, no HFCS, etc.
Specifically, my question boils down to this. Right now, my 12 year old is starting track. He has track right after school, from 2:50-4:30. After a long day of school, and lunch around noon, I really want to send him with a snack for before practice. What are a few things that he can take for a quick snack before practice that will satisfy his hunger and energy requirements?
Energy for muscle activity comes from both glucose and fat. We are constantly using our fat stores for energy at rest. However, glucose is the main source of energy for high intense activities. But the storage form of glucose (glycogen) runs out quickly and needs to continually be replaced. To increase glycogen stores just before intense activities, we look to carbohydrates. Carbohydrates stay in the stomach a shorter time than protein or fat and are easily digested. The glucose then enters the bloodstream quickly for energy to exercise.
Eating more carbohydrates applies to just prior to, or during activity. Studies have shown, “Athletes who train while consuming relatively high fat diets may increase their body’s ability to use fatty acids for energy formation during prolonged exercise. So, bottom line…. The rest of your child’s diet needs to be balanced! Carbohydrates do not provide a sufficient amount of zinc, iron, vitamin B 12 or other nutrients. Balance is necessary to build up the storage of fat for energy, as well as provide adequate protein for muscles building and repair.
Here are some ideas from my nutrition textbook under “Nutrition for Physical Performance”
- Orange Juice
- Cold Cereal
- Skim Milk
- Toast with Jam
- Apple Juice
- pasta with tomato sauce
- Italian bread
- Pineapple juice
- skim milk
- fruit juice
- whole wheat bagels
- corn bread
- canned fruit
And of course, Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
So Amy, I wouldn’t hesitate to send a bag of cereal, to school with your kids to eat afterward, or even a few pancakes. The pancakes wouldn’t be so bad even eaten dry and cold!
Anyone else have ideas of transportable high energy snacks, resources, websites or books on sports nutrition??
- www.eatright.org (pdf on Eating right during exercise!!) AND Eating right BEFORE exericse)
- International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: protein and exercise.
- Exercise and sports nutrition review (full article is available with section on General nutrition strategies for optimal performance.