Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sport Nutrition for Children For Improved Performance

Observing proper sport nutrition for children is not just beneficial for enhancing their sports performance, but also for ensuring they stay healthy. Parents must therefore take an active role in overseeing what food components are included in your child's diet to ensure that it will foster their development, growth, and performance at their chosen sport.

Importance of Balanced Nutrition for Active Children

You need to have a good understanding of what makes up a good nutritional diet to be able to provide for your child's nutritional needs. You cannot expect your child to be healthy physically and mentally unless they get the right nutrition that their body needs.

The key factor to remember here is to make sure they get balanced nutrition. Meaning, they must consume food from all the basic food groups as part of their daily diet. There are three groups that must be equally consumed as part of their daily meal plan: grain group (such as rice, pasta, or bread), dairy foods (such as cheese, milk, and yogurt), and fruits and vegetables. Make sure to provide protein foods such as fish, meat, and poultry as it helps to nourish the muscles and provide energy needed by the body to perform sports.

There are various conceptions of what a good nutrition is and intake recommendations for each child could largely vary. But the main idea is to provide a variety of foods from each food group to ensure that all essential nutrients are acquired as part of sport nutrition for children.

Nutritional Issues to Consider

Children involved in sports need additional nutrition to ensure they remain healthy whilst boosting their sports performance. However, there are significant nutritional issues that are involved in sports nutrition. Make sure you address them to help your child stay competitively active.

Each issue is discussed in more detail below.

Timing of Intake

When it comes to sport nutrition for children, it is not just about the amount of nutrients and vitamins that one can intake. The timing of intake could also create a major impact. Children are recommended to have 5 or 6 meals per day made up of three big meals and two or three snack meals. This is ideal for maintaining the appropriate energy levels in their body to perform their sports activities.

Appropriate Hydration

As children sweat during sports activities, they lose essential fluids from the body. It is therefore important to stay hydrated by ensuring that your body has enough essential fluids. Children (as are adults) are encouraged to drink plenty of water and make sure to drink during break to replenish the hydration which has been lost. Aside from water, drinking sports fluids are sometimes recommended, depending on the level of activity, as they contain electrolytes. But note they should not be considered as a permanent alternative to water and have may have a high sugar content.


No matter how much water they drink, children can sweat a lot during sports and it is important to rehydrate as required.

According to health experts, eating a meal or snack after the athletic activity is recommended to refuel your body. Ensure the snack contains protein and carbohydrates for proper refueling. This is an important tip for parents who wanted to ensure proper sport nutrition for children because it also prepares the body for future sports activities.

If you are ever in doubt, or require more tailored advice, you can contact a dietitian, family doctor or the school/club sports trainer and/or coach.

Janelle Farley is a qualified sport management professional who is passionate about everyone, particularly children, leading a healthy and active lifestyle. She invites you to visit [] to find out more about how you can motivate your children to lead happy and healthy lives.

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