In grade school, my idea of nutrition was a couple of Chips Ahoy cookies and a tall glass of orange juice. The sweetness of chocolate guzzled down by the tanginess of citrus helped keep me alert and focused.
Sports nutrition is forever important in a young athlete’s body for alertness, focus and energy.
An eight ounce glass of orange is juice is filled with folate, niacin, thiamine and vitamin B-6, and the minerals potassium and magnesium.
In addition to orange juice, young athletes should eat these foods to help meet their nutrition:
If your child is skipping breakfast, they missing out on the most important meal of the day. Research complied by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) revealed that children who eat a full breakfast work faster and make fewer mistakes in math problems. Studies also showed that children performed better on vocabulary tests than those who ate only a partial breakfast. A good breakfast consists of whole grains like oatmeal, whole-wheat toast, or and cereal low in sugar with a protein such as milk, yogurt, peanut butter, eggs, or cheese will help with concentration, alertness, comprehension, memory and learning.
Low-fat milk or soy milk
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, children nine years up to teenagers need 3 cups of milk per day. But if your child can’t tolerate milk, the other option is calcium-fortified soy milk. Other non-dairy calcium fortified foods include:
- Sardines and Canned Salmon
- Beans and Lentils.
- Whey Protein.
- Some Leafy Greens such as kale
In place of a glass of milk, children ages and older should consume a least one serving of yogurt a day. Each 8 ounce cup of low-fat Greek yogurt contains 23 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbohydrates, and 9 grams of sugars. Greek yogurt is rich in calcium and has zero fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
Check out this recipe for a Fruity Yogurt Parfait
Cottage cheese is low in fat, and high in calcium, B vitamins and vitamin A. The calcium in cottage cheese is good for bones and teeth. The downside of cottage cheese it that it’s high in sodium—400 mg per 4 ounce cup. The good news is that low-sodium cottage cheese is available in a variety of flavors.
One half cup of cooked dry beans has iron, minerals, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, calcium, and zinc.
Check out this recipe for a Tuscan Smoked Turkey and bean soup
Beans are low in calories, low in fat, and are a great source of energy and fiber. You can find out more information on how to prepare beans from at the Healthy Meals Guide.