As parents and coaches of young athletes, we hear a lot of advice about proper nutrition for the kids. Some of the information is contradictory and, well, there’s just a lot of it to process and assimilate. It can be overwhelming.
Here’s an excellent article that provides the basics for how your child should prepare nutritionally before performing in a game. Dr. Norma E. Anderson, a family physician, advises: “Best eaten at least three or four hours before competition, the pre-event meal should be high in complex carbohydrates (starch) and fluid, moderate in protein, and low in fat, fiber, and caffeine.”
She notes that for some sports, such as football, athletes try to gain weight, while for other sports, such as gymnastics and wrestling, they try to lose it. She warns that these efforts can have far-reaching consequences.
“Under-nutrition or less than optimal nutrition can lead to fatigue, poor recovery, illness, loss of muscle mass, and risk of weakened bones prone to fractures (osteoporosis),” Dr. Anderson says in the article. Take a little time to read it. As coaches and parents we have the responsibility for the kids’ health.