You may have heard about “carb loading” before a game (as in bread and pasta). These options before, during and post-game might have more of a role for young athletes.
- Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew and other melons. On a hot and humid day, these fruits provide refreshing and necessary salts and fluids. They are particularly good for kids who don’t care for water and when trying to avoid higher processed sugar levels in commercial sports beverages.
- Bananas. Does your athlete get butterflies in the stomach that make it difficult to eat a pre-game meal? Bananas have plenty of potassium and other key vitamins, and are pretty easy on the stomach.
Your athlete’s performance on game day will depend on the foods she or he has eaten over the past several days. Try to boost your athlete’s performance by adding in these items to game-day.
- Peanut butter is full of protein, has some iron, and goes well with many other types of food. It is great for quick energy intake and can blend with whole-grain breads or crackers to give your athlete carbohydrates.
- Also add melons for replenishing fluids and salt losses.
Preparation for the next event starts within the first 30 minutes after a practice or competition with a high quality recovery meal.
- Chocolate milk. An absolute favorite recovery drink that starts with a solid amount of carbohydrate to help deliver necessary protein to tired muscles.
- Tart cherry juice. Studies have shown tart cherry juice has equal anti-inflammatory action as medications like ibuprofen without the risk of stomach upset and other side effects.
- Greek yogurt with live cultures provides protein, vitamin D, calcium and also probiotics that can assist digestion.
Dr. Chris Koutures is a board-certified pediatric and sports medicine specialist who practices at ActiveKidMD. He is a physician for USA Volleyball, U.S. Figure Skating , Cal State Fullerton Intercollegiate Athletics, and Chapman University Dance Department. Follow him on Twitter (@dockoutures).