Many struggle with knowing the healthiest ways to feed teenagers. Feeding a teenage athlete is even trickier.
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!
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!)*
- 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!