The Do’s and Don’t’s of Nutrition for Teen Athletes
The diet of a teen athlete is very much different from the diet of a common teenager. The reason behind this is the body of an athlete is much more active than others. So, in order to keep up with the bodily requirements, it is important for a teen athlete to hog up on proteins, carbohydrates and other essential nutrients. Besides, since the teenage years being the basic growth years, the necessity of essential nutrients is much more.
In this article, we have combined together the do’s and don’t’s of nutrition for teen athletes so you don’t miss out on any important tips.
Important Guidelines for the do’s and don’t’s of Nutrition for Teen Athletes:
1. Carbohydrates are more important than you think
Just like an engine needs fuels to run, a teen athlete’s body requires carbohydrates to perform the best. Or, in other words, carbohydrates are the main fuel for an athlete. When you provide ample carbohydrates to a body, they are converted into glucose and are stored in the muscle in the form of glycogen.
When an athlete is exercising or performing, this glycogen provides the energy for such heavy duty tasks. If you are on the field for 90 minutes or so, the stored glycogen can give you the required energy. But, if you are performing for a longer span, try these tips:
• Load up on carbohydrates continuously for 3-4 days before the event.
• On the event day, take your meal at least 3 hours before taking on the field.
2. Load up on Proteins
All of us know that proteins are the building blocks of our body. Protein may not be essential in providing energy, but they are important in building and maintaining a person’s, or, in this case, a teen athlete’s muscles.
An athlete needs about 1.7 to 1.8 grams of protein for 1 kilogram of their body weight which is about 0.3 to 0.4 grams higher than an average body’s requirement.
In this case, drinking milk after a big event will prove helpful in gaining back your strength as milk provides the perfect balance of proteins and carbohydrates. Milk also has high levels of calcium which helps in building strong bones.
But, make sure not to include excess proteins in your diet. They can put strain on your kidneys’ functioning. Also, since teen years are extremely important in one’s life, avoid supplements and eat meat, fish, beans, nuts and eggs instead.
3. Drink enough fluids
Intense exercise can leave your body dehydrated. This can in turn affect your performance and even threaten your life.
All athletes, especially teen athletes should keep in mind to drink enough fluids all through the day and at regular intervals. This will keep their body away from dehydration and boost proper metabolism.
Besides, keeping yourself hydrated can even be termed as the most important thing while going through the do’s and don’t’s of nutrition for teen athletes.
The best way to keep a track of your fluid intake is to keep an eye on the color of your urine. A pale yellow urine indicates that you are hydrated, while a dark or bright yellow color denotes that your body is short of fluids.
Also, keep in mind not to drink excess water or fluids as it will put a strain on your kidneys and pose a life risk.
4. Avoid foods containing fats
Athletes get enough fat from foods such as nuts, olives, avocados, salmon and tuna. These fats are then utilized by your body in long events like marathon when your body runs low on carbohydrates. Thus, your body already has the required fat and it does not need more.
So, try to avoid fatty foods before events to get past an upset stomach and perform well.
5. Electrolytes are essential
During heavy exercise, an athlete’s body loses all the electrolytes. Electrolytes are essential in transmitting nerve signals to one’s entire body. So, if you want to stay fit and active, opt for sports drink. That way your body will get all the fluids and electrolytes it needs in order to replenish.
If you are a teen, and an athlete at the same time, make sure to note down all the do’s and don’t’s of nutrition for teen athletes that we have stated in this article. You will not only stay active, but you will also definitely be at the top your game!

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