In Texas, it’s basically sports season year-round for many kids.
While many student-athletes spend hours in the gym or on the field working to be the best at their sport, what they put in their bodies also contributes to their performance.
Anne Heine, Clinical Dietitian with the CHEF Program at Christus Children’s, said there are some nutritional tips and tricks that can help parents understand how to fuel their children’s bodies.
“You’ve heard the term food is fuel, and it holds especially true for teen athletes because young teen athletes are still growing,” Heine said.
Heine said it’s important that young athletes get enough calories to sustain their daily activities and physical activities.
Male athletes need about 3,000- 4,000 calories a day, and female athletes need about 2,400-3,000 calories a day, during sports season.
If they don’t get those calories, Heine said they might not be able to maintain their weight. It may also lead to risks of fractures and a lack of performance.
The best foods for athletes to eat during their competitive season is a balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Heine said this is achieved by eating a variety of fruits, veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats, and healthy fats.
Heine said it’s important for athletes to receive nutrition from whole foods and not rely on supplements. Heine said many of these supplements have not been tested on people under 18 years of age.
In addition, Heine said teens need about 10 to 14 cups of water a day — that’s 80-112 ounces. When outside, about half a cup of water should be consumed every 15 to 20 minutes.
For more information, visit the Christus website at CHRISTUSchildrens.org.