It is important for active kids to develop a healthy relationship with food and recognize the value of healthy eating in exercise performance. In this series of 3 articles we seek to provide you with practical tips to assist you in providing your children with the required nutrition for an active life. In this article we look at:
· Optimising growth and development
· Inclusion of adequate carbohydrate, protein and suitable fat in the diet
OPTIMISING GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
To optimise growth and development, the emphasis is placed on daily food intake and not attending to healthy eating through only competition periods. Well nourished kids will benefit through better performance, quicker recovery after training and competition. A low energy intake may result in tiredness, irritability and lethargy. This may lead to a decreased interest and enjoyment of the sport. Kids should eat according to appetite with emphasis on a variety of food. Appetite may vary with activity, level of tiredness and periods of growth. To support kids, the whole family may need to get organised to support healthy eating behaviour.
INCLUSION OF ADEQUATE CARBOHYDRATE, PROTEIN AND SUITABLE FAT IN THE DIET
Carbohydrate, protein and fat provide the key nutritional and energy requirements of both children and adults.
CARBOHYDRATES keep blood sugar levels constant, contribute to concentration during the day and help to keep kids alert at school.
|SOURCES OF CARBOHYDRATES – ENERGY FOODS
Cereals: Breakfast cereals, oats, bread and bread rolls, wraps, crackers, rice, pasta, pap
Dairy foods: Plain and flavoured milks, yoghurt, milk desserts, enriched soy beverages
Fruit: Fresh, canned or dried fruits, fruit bars, fruit juices
Vegetables and legumes: Potato, sweet potato, corn, peas, beetroot, pumpkin, baked beans, lentils, chick peas, bean mixes
Extras – sweet snacks: Cereal / Muesli bars, muffins, cakes, banana loaf, pancakes, waffles, jelly sweets, jelly, sports drinks, cordial
|Create frequent opportunities to eat throughout the day and
Include at least one carbohydrate source each meal or snack opportunity
With morning training sessions – Try to eat something “on the run” if there is not enough time for a sit down breakfast.
|ON THE RUN BREAKFAST CHOICES
· Bokomo up and go
· Mix pronutro with a lot of milk in a mug and use it as a drink
· Drinking yoghurt, flavoured milk or a box of milo
· Prepare a smoothie the night before – Blend fresh fruit, e.g. banana, yoghurt, milk and a tablespoon of honey together
· Bake whole wheat pancakes and keep in fridge; use cut banana with a tablespoon of honey as a filling
· Prepare snackwiches the night before and grab one on the way
With training sessions directly after school:
|LUNCH BOX IDEAS
· Pack two lunch boxes; one for during break time and the other for a snack prior to training
· An extra cereal or energy bar with fruit juice
· Crackers with cheese wedges and cordial
· Packet of pop corn or pretzels with a few biltong sticks and cordial
· Bread roll with peanut butter and a fruit
· Jaffles with low fat mince
· Chicken wraps
· Homemade burgers
· Blend ripened, leftover fruits with 100% fruit juice and freeze as ice lollies
· Trail mix – blend of unsalted nuts, seeds and dried fruits
· Melba toast with dips, e.g. avocado or low fat cottage cheese
· Corn on the cob
Protein is found in both plant and animal foods and is necessary to provide building blocks for growth. It helps to repair wear and tear on the body and keep the immune system healthy. Although active children might need slightly more protein than their friends that are not active, it is easy to eat enough by having some meat and dairy foods daily.
|SOURCES OF PROTEIN – GROW FOODS
Meat, seafood and eggs: Beef, lamb, pork, chicken, fish (fresh, tinned or frozen), eggs
Dairy and soy foods: Plain and flavoured milks, yoghurt, cheese, milk desserts, enriched soy beverages
Legumes, nuts and seeds: Baked beans, nuts such as almonds, cashews, peanuts and peanut butter, seeds like pumpkin and sunflower
Fat is important for normal growth and development and children should include 3 to 4 teaspoons of fat in their daily food intake. Healthier fat choices include fish, nuts, seeds and avocados.
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