Feeding active kids 3

Feeding Active Kids 3 - cereal

Our third and final article in the series Feeding Active Kids focuses on eating for competition days and multi-event competition. Article one and article two are also available.


The night before

Ensure sufficient carbohydrate intake and appropriate fluid intake. Keep food simple and include carbohydrates, some protein foods and plenty of nourishing drinks.


  • Low fat lasagne with bread rolls and fresh fruit salad
  • Pasta with a low fat sauce and cordial
  • Shepherd’s pie with jelly and custard for dessert
  • Homemade hamburgers with oven baked chips and flavoured milk
  • Homemade pizza with thick crust and low fat mozzarella cheese topping
  • Pineapple chicken stir fry in pita bread with fresh juice
  • Pancakes with chicken and white sauce filling

The day of competition

Breakfast is always an important meal! Eat breakfast at least two hours before the activity period. If the child is hungry later on, include a small low fat snack up to one hour prior to activity. Experiment with food to ensure minimal gastro-intestinal discomfort.


  • Cereal with milk, fruit and yoghurt and a glass of juice
  • Toast with peanut butter or low fat cheese and tomato with a glass of milk
  • Toast fingers with boiled eggs
  • Tinned spaghetti on toast with flavoured milk
  • Banana and peanut butter on toast with a glass of milk
  • Scrambled eggs with creamed corn on toast and a glass of juice
  • Crumpets with honey and a tub of yoghurt with a glass of juice
COPING WITH MULTI-EVENT DAYSNo time between events:

  • A sports drink only

Limited time – less than 1 hour between events:

  • Take fluids
  • Meal
  • Avoid soft drinks with bubbles
  • Sports drink and water are important to include for hydration and an energy top up
  • Very small amount of a low fat snack food may be included if hungry – Fruit )fresh, canned or dried) or a fruit bar, crackers or a small amount of jelly sweets

Plenty of time – 1-2 hours between events:

  • Include fluids – water, sports drink, fruit juice, smoothie, liquid Choose snacks as for when there is limited time but add grain/fruit type bars, sandwich, rice or pasta salad

Longer than 2 hours between events:

  • Include a more substantial snack or a light meal
  • Between heats and finals is a good time to include a light snack with plenty of nourishing fluids

If you have to travel long distances or need to make an early start before a carnival, pack some breakfast-on-the-run foods, including flavoured milk drinks, cereal bars, bread rolls with spread, juice, fruit bars, canned or fresh fruit or slices of banana or date loaf

At the venue:

  • Be flexible with food choices and consider the timing of events.
  • Organize suitable foods to take with
  • Do not rely on the canteen food or food from vending machines to supply suitable snacks and drinks
  • Do not forget a good supply of sunscreen, hats, caps and shade protection
  • Always pack two drink bottles per child – one for water and the other with sports drink
  • Take a top up supply of cooled water, juice and flavoured fluids
  • Encourage a little solid food with fluids, if time permits, between events
  • Encourage fluid intake between the warm up and the activity period – about half to one cup of water or sports drink
  • Encourage fluid intake during breaks
  • Aim to get kids drinking at least a couple of “good mouthfuls” from the drink bottle immediately after the activity period
  • After the last event, encourage kids to drink at least 500 ml of fluid

  • Flavoured milk
  • Liquid meal replacement, e.g. Ensure or Nutren Active
  • Bokomo Up ‘n Go
  • Sports drinks or cordial
  • Jelly sweets
  • Water
  • Jam or honey sandwiches
  • Fruit juice
  • Fresh fruits
  • Raisins
  • Bread roll with banana
  • Cereal bars
  • Banana or date loaf or muffins

After the event:

Recovery after each training or competition session is essential to maintain performance, especially if the competition stretches over several days.

Recovery snacks and fluids should be:

  • Started within 30 minutes of finishing exercise
  • High in carbohydrate with a little protein
  • Quick and easy to prepare and eat
  • Available at the venue if it takes a long time to get home


  • Children should always have their own water bottle handy during activity to sip from during training.
  • Keep fluid cool – Freeze some bottles if activity is late in the day
  • Offer a mix of water and flavoured drinks such as sports drink or cordial
  • Be prepared to compensate for extra losses if your child is overheating on warm days
  • A quick guide of hydration is the colour of urine – if the urine is a darker colour than usual, extra drinks should be taken
  • Encourage children to drink small amounts regularly rather than wait until they are thirsty and then drink too much at once
  • Avoid carbonated drinks before, during and immediately after exercise
  • It is not suitable for active children to be using high caffeine drinks before, during or after sport
  • Monitor drinks hygiene – each kid needs to use their own water bottle
  • Encourage young athletes to drink flavoured fluids through a straw to limit the amount of contact between the sports drink and teeth, helping reduce the risk of dental decay
  • Know the warning signs for dehydration and take a time out and consume water if they are present:
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea and headache
  • Dark urine and infrequent urination
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Feeling of extreme heat which remains after a cool down time
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