The proper nutrition for young athletes strengthens them physically and mentally and protects them from injury and illness
The saying goes that 80% of our health is influenced by the food we put in our bodies while exercising influences just 20%. This is especially true for children; they need the right nutrition to grow into healthy adults. Active children require enough calories to both give them energy while in action and feed their growing body. They’ll be able to perform soccer, football, or cheer much better with a well-balanced diet. And hopefully, leading them to a successful career in their athletic passion of choice.
Foods Young Athletes Need
Protein and Fats
Protein promotes muscle growth, while fats provide energy, support cell growth, and protect our organs. Chow down on these for more proteins and fats:
- Nuts: Nuts are one of the best sources of healthy fats and protein, as well as fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E. They are easy to pack as a snack, sprinkle on other foods, or bake into muffins. 
- Seeds: Seeds are another great source of fats, magnesium, fiber, and vitamin E. Try a fruit and seed bar recipe for a fun, healthy, homemade snack your little athlete will love.
Fiber is essential to gut and bowel health. It also lowers cholesterol and helps control blood sugar levels. Some food that includes fiber are:
- Beans: Not only are beans an excellent source of fiber, but they also provide protein, iron, magnesium, and zinc. If you have a crockpot, you can dump all kinds of beans into chili for dinner. You could also make a bean dip, salad, or burrito.
- Popcorn: For every cup of popcorn, you’ll find one gram of fiber (when not saturated in butter).
- Whole Grains: Attention, bread lovers! Natural whole grains are stuffed with nutrients fibers.
- Apples: An old tale says, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and with good reason. Apples are a delicious fruit that can boost your daily fiber intake with a few crunches!
Bones need calcium sources! It helps the body build bone density, assists muscles movement, and enables nerves to carry messages between the brain and body. Be sure to include these calcium-rich foods every day:
- Cheese: Cheese is rich in calcium, protein, and potassium.  Use it to coat vegetables that your kid may not usually like, fill it in lasagna, and stick it in a sandwich for lunch. You’ll appreciate strong bones, but also a great set up teeth!
- Yogurt: Another great source of calcium, protein, and potassium, yogurt also offers vitamin D. It works well as an easy snack for people on the go.
- Milk/soy milk: Dairy is a common source of calcium, as well as protein, potassium, and vitamin D, and should be a regular part of any growing child’s meal plan. If your child is lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy, soy milk with added calcium is a good alternative.
Our bodies need vitamins to perform hundreds of functions, like heal wounds, build our immune system, and repair cellular damage. Some foods that are filled with vitamins include:
- Ready-to-eat cereal: Cereal, when not filled with sugar, nourishes your body with iron, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin E. They also offer a quick, leisurely breakfast when you’re in a rush.
- 100% orange juice: Not only providing a great source of Vitamin C, but orange juice also contains calcium and vitamin D. While fresh squeezed is the healthiest, store-bought still offers similar nutritional value.
- Leafy green vegetables: Ensure your little athlete is getting enough iron by feeding them plenty of dark leafy vegetables like spinach. If your child doesn’t like plain spinach, you can blend and mold it into veggie meatballs, add it to a smoothie, or add it to a dip.
- Orange fruits and veggies: Orange fruits and veggies are full of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium. Try adding carrots, orange peppers, and sweet potatoes to your child’s meal plan.
What if you cannot get your athletes to eat these nutritious foods?
Sometimes kids are picky eaters, or they are allergic to the most accessible sources of certain nutrients. If you are concerned your athlete is not getting the nutrients they need, nutritional supplements for children can make up for the foods they are not eating.
Talk with a Nutrition Specialist
From boosting calcium from a tall glass of milk to adding fiber with apples, we encourage you to our nutrition section within the directory to find resources for dieticians, nutritionists, and more. We’re a community of people who only want the best for each other, including our growing children! Thank you for reading our blog on foods that support a growing athlete.
You are not a cook – You can still provide great nutritious food for the whole family
For parents with busy schedules, using a prepared meal service eliminates the time spent on grocery shopping and cooking, so you can sit down to a healthy meal together as soon as you get home.
Want to encourage your child to exercise
For more information on how to care for your young athlete and learn about new places to break a sweat, visit our directory for sports. You can also visit our health blog for more topics on taking care of yourself and your family.
At Wilco Wellness, we believe A big part of family happiness starts with nourishing the body, mind and soul.
As always, it is essential to discuss any changes in your diet or exercise routine with your primary care doctor. While our information is necessary, every individual must be responsible for their due diligence concerning their health routine and guidelines.
If you do not have a primary care doctor or are looking for a clinician, please feel free to contact and schedule an appointment with clinicians on our directory website.
 World Vegetarian Day: 5 Essential Superfoods To Promote …. https://www.netmeds.com/health-library/post/world-vegetarian-day-5-essential-superfoods-to-promote-overall-health
 Foods & Drinks That Brighten Your Teeth | Anderson Dental. https://www.andersondentalonline.com/foods-and-drinks-brighten-teeth/