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02/27/18

What to Eat When Training for Spring Sports

iStock Photo/Sports Moms Illustration

Just like practice makes perfect, eating right keeps athletes strong and healthy for a productive season. Before any practice or game, it’s important that your kiddos eat enough nutrients to get the right vitamins and minerals they need.

While us moms are over here counting our calories as if they are liquid gold, our athletes are eating all of the extra calories we have to give up. It’s important that athletes eat enough calories to cover the additional energy they use during practice and games. But, equally important is where they get these additional calories. To gain the energy they need, make sure they’re eating complex carbohydrates (cereal, pasta, potatoes, etc.).

By eating a little extra, your athletes will have extra energy and stay them hydrated to prevent fatigue. In addition to staying hydrated through meals, it’s important that they drink plenty of water before the game.

This doesn’t mean chug a water bottle or sports drink minutes before practice starts. No, hours in advance start drinking water steadily up until the event. Similarly, meals should be eaten about two to four hours before a practice or game.

Have your athletes experiment with different foods to see what works best for their body. Liquid meals can be consumed 20 to 30 minutes before a competition, while foods high in carbohydrates and starches need more time.

Make sure your athletes don’t drink carbonated or caffeinated drinks or they will get dehydrated much more quickly. Eating simple sugars before a game or practice can actually hinder performance, so stay away from sodas!

After a game or practice, wait about 30 minutes then eat a balanced meal high in carbohydrates. Re-hydrate the body by drinking two cups of water for every pound lost during the game. Staying hydrated can lower core body temperature and keep your athlete safe and healthy.