- This information is to serve as a guideline to feeding your children for optimum performance during the week as well as race days.
- No one knows your child better than you, pay close attention to what he/she eats and how it affects their performance. Did they seem sluggish; Did they seem more energetic than usual; Did something upset their stomachs; Did they have a headache after working out. Take note of these questions especially when trying something new.
- Timing is everything. It is very important that the food is digested before practice/race day. If time allows, a meal should be eaten at least 2-3 hours before practice/race and the child should be well hydrated before arrival. However, we do not live in a perfect world and sometimes eating on the way to the event can happen. When it does, a snack is more appropriate not a meal.
- Whole Grain (low to no sugar) Cereal & Milk (i.e., Cheerios, Raisin Bran, Chex, Granola, Corn Flakes, Oat Bran, Puff Rice)
- Oatmeal –w- Fruit (go easy on sugar)
- Whole Wheat Toast/English Muffin/Pita Bread
- Bagel –w- Cream Cheese (if having for a snack or on race day, use nut butter instead of cream cheese, if no allergies.)
- Muffins (preferably bran, oat bran with fruit)
- Pancakes/Waffles/French Toast (Try to use 100% Maple Syrup, Agave Nectar or All Fruit Jams)
- Protein shake/Smoothie (Try adding oatmeal for a complete breakfast
Lunch and Dinner:
- Salads (As many vegetable varieties as the children will eat)
- Green Leafy Vegetables (Spinach, Kale, Collards, Swiss Chard)
- Broccoli, Cauliflower
- Lean Meats (Fish, Tuna, Turkey, Chicken, Beef) **Preferably baked/broiled/grilled
- Pizza (Pile on veggies, stay clear of pepperoni, sausage, ham)
- Beans (All varieties)
- Tacos, Burritos
- Sandwich (Whole Grain Breads, Lean Meats, Veggies) **Go very light on Mayonnaise
- Potatoes (baked, boiled, mashed, roasted)
- Pasta (Whole Wheat/Brown Rice/Whole Grain)
- Rice (Brown, Wild)
- Fruits (All) **Especially bananas, grapes, oranges, berries, melons
- Veggies (All)
- Raw Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, etc.)
- Pumpkin/Sunflower Seeds
- Pistachio Nuts
- Dried Fruits (Raisins, Cranberries, Dates)
- Pretzels, Whole Grain Crackers
- Graham Crackers
- Protein Shake/Smoothie
- Boiled eggs
Note: I do not recommend eating dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese) prior to track meets/practice.
Food for Track Meets:
Choose from: Fruits, Veggies, Sandwich Fixings, Boiled eggs, Crackers, Pretzels, Nuts/Raisins, Bagels & Natural Nut butter, Granola/ Cereal Bars. WATER, WATER, WATER!!!
A few notes on our opinion about sports drinks:
· Sports drinks are to be used only to balance electrolyte levels and replenish gylcogen (think muscle energy) stores after long bouts of intense exercise and sports. If you're not doing said exercise/sports then it's basically sugar water and is a sure fire way to get too many empty calories that can lead to weight gain.
· Sports drinks do have a place, however, but only when participating in a high-intensity endurance event that lasts longer than 90 minutes, like a marathon or triathlon. For most children, therefore, a sports drink is really not necessary, especially as a fluid replacement at home.
· Research shows that there are potentially three major drawbacks to the continual use of sports drinks. The first is obesity since these drinks are rich in carbohydrates (that is why they taste so good). The second is drinking too many sports drinks can erode the teeth due to the acidity - not the sugar. And third, sports drinks are more expensive than the best fluid replacement of them all - WATER.
· Yes, plain cool water is the fluid of choice when exercise does not last longer than 60 to 90 minutes. And that includes most situations, even a tough practice session, a hard-fought football game, or a track meet. You don't need an energy source in the fluid you drink to rehydrate. Sports drinks should be reserved for those individuals who exercise continuously for more than 90 minutes.
Please remember good nutrition and preparation begin days before the event not the day of or the night before. Please stress the importance of staying hydrated.