How to Eat Right for Youth Soccer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tracey Mickels   
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 02:39

With good nutrition, young players can discover a whole new level of performance. A good soccer diet can also help prevent injury, reduce recovery time between games and create a lifetime of good eating habits.

1 Make sure your child eats a good meal before playing. A rule of thumb is to have a meal an hour or two before an event.
2 Look to the pyramid. The recommendations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Food Guide Pyramid include a heavy emphasis on carbohydrates (55 to 60 percent).
3 Separate the needs of adults from those of children. Young players should be eating plenty of calories with unsaturated fats.
4 Watch iron and calcium. Adolescent athletes are at increased risk for deficiencies in these.
5 Encourage children to eat a lot. Youth players should fuel like endurance athletes. They need calories and more calories.
6 Have them eat often. Players should have a good meal one to two hours before playing and snack on fruit and/or sports drinks during the games.
7 Choose the right foods. Fruits, whole grains and easy-to-digest foods (e.g. not fried) are the best choices. Avoid junk food. It can hamper performance.
8 Remember fluids. Proper hydration is the most crucial aspect of sports nutrition.
9 Refuel. Post-game nutrition is often overlooked, but nutritious foods speed muscle recovery for the next game.
10 Be flexible and creative. Feed your child in the car on the way to or from a game, or pack an extra lunch for afterschool practice.
11 Pack nonperishables in your child's soccer bag. Include a constant supply of foods such as pretzels, crackers or sports bars.