Are your Saturdays filled with sport? Have you ever wondered what to feed the kids to fuel all that activity? We asked Rhian from The Healthy Mummy for some tips on healthy eating for kids who play sport.
Here’s what she told us, in her words:
We all know that it is important for kids to be active. Kids who participate in Saturday sports reduce their risk of obesity, and increase their sense of well-being.
As a parent, I want to ensure I am giving my kids the best type of foods to nourish them during the match.
Gone are the days of carb-loading for professional athletes. Instead athletes are consuming high fat low-carb style diets or even vegan diets depending on the type of activity they are doing.
We can take some tips from the pro’s and adjust it for our weekend warrior children.
First, let’s look at carbs, proteins and fats. For active children and teens, protein is worked out at roughly 1.5g/kg per day. So if you have a 25kg child, this means they need about 37g of protein a day.
Fat intake is best at about 25-35% of the days energy.
As for Carbs, give as many vegies as you can, and limit starchy white carbohydrates.
The best way to do this is to spread out their needs across each meal. Give some protein, good fats, and vegies at every meal if possible, and include lots of colourful rainbow foods to get in the vitamins and minerals they need.
On the morning they are to play, it’s best to consume food two hours before the big game, this gives the body time to digest the meal and have that fuel ready to utilise during the match. You don’t want them to hurriedly eat something on the way and churn it up on the field, as this will leave your kids feeling a bit green and definitely not playing at their best.
Fluids are crucial. It’s easy for an athlete to get dehydrated when they are sweating. Isotonic sports drinks can help. But how you consume them is important. Drink some about an hour before the game so you will loose less electrolytes while playing. Another sip at half time, will mean better recovery. Another drink after them match, while eating a nutrient dense meal, aids re-hydration and muscle recovery.
Have a think about the sort of sports drink you want to have your kid drinking though. A lot are full of sugars and artificial colours and flavours. Its better for them (and your pocket) if you find a powdered version that just contains the good stuff they need and no other junk.
Here’s some food ideas from The Healthy Mummy for your kids sport day:
Veggie loaded baked beans.
Eggs on wholemeal toast with baby spinach
Quinoa porridge with nuts and berries.
Mid-game snacks aren’t really needed, just keep the fluids up. But if they are part of the club’s culture or your child is really hungry, then pick things like the following:
Vegie sticks, hummus and rice cracker
Apples with nuts and cheese
Pear and nut butter
Home made muesli bars
After the game, grab a smoothie with added banana, spinach, avocado and berries to refuel.
Post game meals should include lots of colourful foods and good sources of protein:
Salmon Patties with purple slaw.
Steak and salad.
Chicken skewers with black rice and vegies.
An example of what that would look like across a day would be:
Hidden veggie loaded baked beans for breakfast, coconut water with pinch of salt pre game, small yoghurt with chia seeds mid game, Smoothie with The Healthy Mummy Kids Smoothie mix, avocado, banana and spinach after the game, bacon salad sandwich for lunch, apple with cheese, nuts and kale chips for afternoon tea, fish with vegies for dinner, and home made mango sorbet for dessert.
Whatever sports your child does on a weekend, make sure you congratulate them for participating, nurture a love of activity rather than competition, and encourage them by fueling them with healthy nutritious foods.