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Diamonds on your inside. That’s what we want. Don’t you? This blog is a place to visit for guidance, humor and wit about healthy, happy lives. We only have one life. Make it count!

Archives: August 2016


Final Tips for Feeding (and Hydrating) a Teenage Athlete

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The third part of our series on teenage athlete nutrition focuses exclusively on hydrating your teenage athlete. Proper hydration in your teen is incredibly important. Even the slightest bit of dehydration can result in vast declines in performance.Teenage athletes

Understand hydration. It is key because too many of us blindly reach for traditional sports drinks for hydration, electrolyte replacement and energy. This can be a big mistake if you don’t know the scoop.

Conventional Sports Drinks …

  • Contain 2/3 as much sugar as sodas. Sugar after exercise negatively affects insulin sensitivity—it may bring an initial boost of energy, but then causes a crash as the pancreas tries to balance out the toxic blood sugar spike.
  • Are made with artificial colors, flavors and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Gatorade and its brethren are NOT healthy beverages. These ingredients promote ADHD, and contain synthetic ingredients that offer the body NO nutritional benefit.
  • Are loaded with sodium – the bad kind – not to be confused with unprocessed sea salt, which contains 84 different minerals and trace minerals that your body needs for optimal function. A far better option is to simply add a small amount of natural, unprocessed sea salt to your water.

 

So, what are your hydration and electrolyte replacement options?

  1. Water is always good, but won’t replace integral electrolytes and minerals.
  2. Coconut Water is rich in B vitamins, trace minerals AND electrolytes, as well as potassium and magnesium.
  3. Bananas are high in potassium, fiber and antioxidants.
  4. Raisins are a great replacement for those “energy jelly beans” and GOO.
  5. Clean Sports Drinks.

 

Wait, what is that, you say? A CLEAN sports drink???The GEM's Sports Drink

Yes indeed! Say good bye to Gatorade. Enter Perform—our super-clean performance and recovery drink! It has a Tart Cherry-Pineapple flavor. It is powered with electrolytes, trace minerals, hydrating coconut water and lightly sweetened with local raw honey for flavor and stamina. Tart Cherry is important because this polyphenol-rich juice reduces oxidative stress, which if neglected promotes excess fatigue, tissue damage and slow recovery, The bromelain in pineapple works to reduce inflammation.

Hydrating your teenage athlete is a minefield, people. Lucky for you we’ve got you covered.

If you want to learn more about this and more GEM~my goodness, join us for our Day in the Life of a GEM counseling series. It is on in September.

Sparkle on!


Healthy Tips for Feeding a Teenage Athlete – Part Two

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Many struggle with knowing the healthiest ways to feed teenagers. Feeding a teenage athlete is even trickier. featureblog2

As discussed in last week’s post, optimal physical performance for your teen athlete requires preparation—not just daily practice, but as it relates to daily dietary input. You can’t expect to put cheap and crappy fuel into your car and expect it to run optimally. The same goes for your body.  What are appropriate pre and post game hydration and energy food options?

Last week’s post covered what your teenage athlete should eat – as a general diet, before training, and before sporting events. But what happens when your athlete is on the go? What choices can you make when you don’t have a great deal of time or the choices are limited and they need quick energy?

Sugary sports drinks and energy bars can actually do more harm than good. Beware of chemical laden, sugar filled energy bars that tout performance improvement.

Healthy and quick pre-game nutrition ideas on the go should be clean and simple:

  • Keep bananas, oranges and green apples on hand. (great with almond or organic peanut butter)
  • Pumpkin seeds, raw trail mix, GEM Remix*
  • Lentil Soup or Quinoa–packed with energy boosting nutrients 
  • Green juice – don’t underestimate the power of green juice! Packed with energizing nutrients that are delivered immediately into the bloodstream. Green Glow is a great pre- and post-game choice.
  • Healthy smoothies (made at home or from a reputable smoothie place without added sugar)
  • Go Lean Crunch or healthy cereals that contain good protein
  • Beet shots – increases endurance, reduces oxygen consumption, increases blood nitrate levels and reduces resting blood pressure. It might be a stretch for some of our teens, but major athletes swear by them!

blog1kids

Bars are an easy and convenient way to keep your teenage athlete fueled, but choose carefully. Our favorites:

  • Tosi Bars*
  • Square Bars (peanut butter chocolate is the best!!)*
  • Epic Protein Powders (show them how to make their own smoothies!)*
  • GoMacro*
  • Perfect Bars – they require refrigeration but are amazing
  • Kind Bars Strong & Kind
  • Vega One Sport – this company has an entire line of products aimed at sports performance
  • Lara Pro-Bars
  • While not perfect, Clif bars are an energy option that is available even in the most remote of convenience stores.

*Available inside The GEM

Remember: clean and simple food choices are the way to go with your teenage athlete.  And don’t forget – water, water and more water!

Next week, we wrap up our series by tackling hydration and sports drinks. Until then, drink your juice!


Healthy Tips for Feeding a Teenage Athlete – Part One

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image1Our kids are crazy about their sports. They put lots of focus on practice and training to prepare for the big games; but do they place equal focus on the nutrition that will support their play? Optimal performance for a teenage athlete requires preparation—not just with practice output, but also dietary input.

This three part blog series will give you information and helpful tips on how to fuel your teenage athlete in ways that are healthy and promote optimal performance. If you haven’t already, take a look at our series on feeding healthy teens here – part one, part two, part three, part four. This information was very well received, but it resulted in more in-depth questions, specifically about your teenage athlete.

Sports nutrition for teenagers is a bit of a specialized area. Teenage athletes playing high level sports burn calories very quickly. If they don’t eat enough of the right types of nutrients, their performance can decrease and may even result in possible growth problems. Healthy eating allows a teen athlete to achieve peak performance without compromising overall health.

So how do you properly nourish the body pre and post game? Here some tips on how to guide your teenage athlete towards optimal sports performance:

  1. Eat a diet that is about 70% complex carbohydrates – including fruit, vegetables, brown rice, whole grain, organic pastas, quinoa, carrots – to achieve maximum carbohydrate storage. Lean proteins such as organic chicken, pastured eggs and small amounts of grass fed beef are critical. Stay away from the bad carbs: white pasta, white breads, junk cereals, and off the shelf fruit juice.
  2. Eat fat. It sounds crazy, but good quality, healthy fats are a source of fuel for your body and are strongly advised – smart choices are avocados, natural organic peanut / raw almond butter on an apple.
  3. Eat a good breakfast! Every day, but especially on game days. Oatmeal, a fruit smoothie with vegan protein, scrambled eggs.
  4. Eat a meal no less than three hours before exercising.
  5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!*** Drink 24 ounces of water two to three hours before the sporting event, during the event on breaks, and especially afterwards to replenish the body. Beware of sports drinks – they can be loaded with sugar, creepy preservatives and artificial food colorings (more about that in part 3).
  6. Pre-game, eat a meal containing complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat pasta, or brown rice with vegetables. Don’t weigh your teen down with heavy proteins or unhealthy fats. If they can’t eat a full meal because they have a nervous feeling in their stomach, a small snack such as a banana or oatmeal is still important.
  7. Avoid SUGAR before exercise – it can speed up dehydration. Your body will thank you later! I know it’s tempting because of the instant energy it provides, but the subsequent crash can be depleting.
  8. Stay away from fast food. It can make your teenage athlete sluggish and it seriously affects performance.  Better “fast food” choices are places like Chipotle and Panera, who have healthier options PLUS they have eliminated unhealthy additives and preservatives across the board. Save the occasional Burger House for a post-game celebration.
  9. Multivitamins are essential! Teenage athletes just don’t get what they need from their food—even if they are perfect eaters. A daily multivitamin is key, along with high quality Fish Oil and a Probiotic. Look for organic ones, made from real food sources. New Chapter, Rainbow Light, Metagenics and Garden of Life are great brands.

 

And, be careful. There are always new ‘miracle’ foods and supplements surfacing. Many are expensive and even dangerous, which makes it confusing. Don’t be swayed. Keep keep it clean and simple.

***Post Note: Water

Water is one of the MOST important components to health and wellness there is. Dehydration is a very real risk if your teen doesn’t continually drink water throughout physical activity. Even dehydration of less than 2% can have measurable negative effects on performance. As a general rule, teenagers should drink 6-8 ounces of water 6 times a day for general health and 24 ounces of water two to three hours before a sporting event, as well as during and after playing.

Join us for parts 2 and 3 of this series for the whattup on teen athlete nutrition on-the-go and sports drinks. Until then … drink your juice.