Three Nutrition Tips for Kids Playing Sports

Three Nutrition Tips for Kids Playing Sports

Chef April Howell, Martin’s Super Markets School of Cooking
1. Drink Enough Fluids: Kids are more likely to suffer heat exhaustion, fatigue and dehydration when outside in the heat. They should drink about 8 oz (1cup) every 20 minutes. Sports drinks should not be used as a meal replacement.

Good Choices: Lightly sweetened, flavored, non-carbonated beverages such as sports drinks

2. Pre-Exercise and Post Exercise: To prevent hunger and supply energy to their working muscles before exercise focus on eating carbohydrates (main source of energy for exercise and major fuel for the brain) and moderate protein (helps rebuild muscles and fights infection) as well as low fat foods and fluids. To help their muscles recover fast have your children eat/drink a high protein snack within 30 minutes after exercise, followed with a high carb, moderate protein meal 1-2 hours later.

Good Choices: pasta or rice, breads with veggies, chicken, bananas, milk, yogurt, toast, juice

3. Keep Kids’ Fuel Tanks Filled: This may take some extra preparation but it will be worth it when they start to slow down in the middle of their activity. Providing healthy snacks before and after exercise like high-carbohydrate, moderate protein and low fat snacks are very beneficial to their growing bodies. Avoid sugary stuff like sodas or candy bars right before they practice or compete. They might get a little energy boost, but it will fade fast, leaving them feeling drained.

Good Choices: Granola bars, pretzels and hummus or peanut butter, trail mix, fruit, and fluids

pre-exercise meal:
Penne Chicken
Serves: 6

1 box whole-wheat penne pasta (14 oz)
3 cups of raw broccoli florets
3/4 cup of precooked chicken strips (4 oz)
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese shreds (2 oz) (reduced fat)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese shreds (2 oz)
3 tablespoons skim milk (1.5 oz)
2 tablespoons chicken broth (low-sodium)
3/4teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta according to directions until crisp-tender. Drain pasta. Place drained pasta in a 13×9 baking dish.

2. Place broccoli in a stockpot of boiling water or a steamer for about 5 minutes. Rinse with cool water.

3. Add drained broccoli and precooked chicken strips to pasta. Sprinkle shredded cheeses over the pasta mixture.

4. In a bowl, combine milk, chicken broth, salt, pepper. Pour milk mixture evenly over the pasta mixture and mix in with a spoon.

5. Cover baking dish with foil. Bake 30 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and cheese is melted.

time to refuel:
Cocoa, Almond and Oat Energy Balls
Yield: 12 balls

2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup fat-free milk
3 tablespoons coconut oil spread
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/4 cup unsalted almond butter (or other smooth nut or soy butter)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup raisins and or dry cranberries

1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside. Place oats into large bowl.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat milk and coconut oil on medium heat. When spread is melted, whisk in brown sugar and cocoa powder. Stir and bring mix to a boil, then lower and cook for 1 minute.

3. Remove pan from heat and stir in almond butter, vanilla extract, and raisins/cranberries. Immediately pour sauce over the rolled oats and stir until oats are completely covered in sauce.

4. Place rounded tablespoon-size scoops of the mixture onto prepared baking sheet. Allow clusters to set for 15 minutes before serving.


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