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Carefully researched and satisfying the real need for a nutrition book specifically for young athletes, Sports Nutrition for Young Athletes offers clear advice to sports coaches, teachers and parents of young people wanting to maximise their sports performance through eating healthily and sensibly. Find out about specific nutritional requirements for different sports — from running to swimming, gym to dance, racquet sports to football and rugby. Learn more about tricky weight issues, myths about body composition and the warning signs for eating disorders.

This is a above all a practical book — written and road tested by bestselling nutrition author Anita Bean, and packed with nutritional tips, eating plans for training and competition, and easy, delicious and nutritious recipes and snacks to give your young sportsperson the competitive edge. You can unsubscribe from newsletters at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in any newsletter. For information on how we process your data, read our Privacy Policy.

About Anita Bean's Sports Nutrition for Young Athletes

If they eat a poor quality diet then they not only risk illness but they will not be able to train and compete to the best of their ability. But if they eat a healthy diet that provides the correct amount of energy and nutrients, then they will enjoy better health and improved performance in their sport. The nutritional requirements of young athletes are not too dissimilar from those of non-athletes but there are a number of special considerations.

The most obvious one is meeting their energy needs, which not only have to support growth and development but also their level of activity. Young athletes exercising for an hour a day may need an extra — kcal; those training for two hours or more daily may require an extra kcal.

They also need proportionally more carbohydrate, more protein and more vitamins and minerals. Chapter 1, The nutritional needs of young athletes, provides practical guidance on how to plan a healthy diet for sport.


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As well as ensuring they get enough fuel and are eating the right types of food, young athletes also have to consider the timing of their food and drink intake before, during and after each training session. Chapter 2, Eating for sport, explains the optimal timing of meals, snacks and drinks as well as menu suggestions.

Nutrition For Young Athletes - First With Kids - Vermont Children's Hospital

There may also be concerns about body weight and body composition. These issues need to be treated sensitively and it is important that young athletes seek correct advice before embarking on any regime. Chapter 3, Weight and sports performance, provides sensible weight loss and weight gain strategies to help you plan their programme. Many young athletes take supplements, such as sports drinks, vitamins and protein supplements.

But often they do not know exactly what they are or how they work. What young athletes eat and drink in the weeks and days before a competition, as well as on the day of the competition, will make a big difference to their performance. Chapter 5 will help you devise one. To help you put the nutrition information into practice I have devised simple and tasty recipes for main meals, vegetarian meals, soups, desserts and baking at the end of this book.

Hopefully, these will inspire you and your young athletes to get in the kitchen and get cooking! How can good nutritional practices help young athletes perform better? The amount, composition and timing of food intake can profoundly affect sports performance. Good nutritional practice will help athletes train hard, recover quickly and adapt more effectively with less risk of illness and injury. Athletes should adopt specific nutritional strategies before and during competition to help maximise their performance.

Clearly, their diet needs to provide enough energy, carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals to fuel growth as well as training and recovery. The energy and nutrient requirements for boys and girls aged 4—18 years are shown in Tables 1. These values should cover the needs of 95 per cent of children. But there are no specific values for athletic children, who will almost certainly need to eat more than their non-active peers.

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Most people think of energy as good, calories bad. In fact, they refer to the same thing! The more active they are, the higher the PAL. New research continues to show that the fastest distance performances require plenty of carbohydrates for fuel. The gluten-free trend is a popular one, and many athletes have hopped on the bandwagon thinking it might improve their health, digestion, and athletic performance.

Are they onto something, or can you keep enjoying your bread and pasta? During strenuous activity, you lose fluid and electrolytes sodium, potassium through sweat. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, zap muscle strength, energy, concentration, and coordination, so you need to replace fluid and electrolytes by drinking.

Sports drinks provide carbohydrates and replace electrolytes lost in sweat. Water is good and sometimes preferred for non vigorous activities, or activities lasting less that 1 hour.

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Do I need a sports drink? Sports drinks are best for intense, prolonged training or racing. The sodium in sports drinks also helps absorption of fluid across the small intestine.

Young Athlete

For easier workouts, high carbohydrate snacks and water are fine. Just be sure you practice using a sports drink at some workouts if you are planning on using one during an event. Can I make my own sports drink? For most purposes, diluted fruit juice is a convenient option. Sugar is Not the Enemy especially for active people.

Some wonder if this overemphasis on one nutrient is overshadowing the large problem of inactivity. Eating before exercising can be tricky: figuring out how to fuel for workouts in the early morning, lunch breaks, or supper-time takes some planning and practice. Many athletes are not as aware, however, that you can maximize your training gains, speed up the recovery process, and enhance subsequent performance by consuming the right foods or fluids at the right times following a workout.

Will chocolate milk help you recover after your workout? A look at the evidence. The protein powder market is growing. Once primarily the realm of body builders and sold in big tubs displaying pictures of big muscles , protein powders are now cleverly marketed to various demographics and available at most supermarkets.

by Jeff Kinney