Young athletes may not have the same nutritional needs as elite athletes but they do need to fuel themselves appropriately to perform their best on the field. Children and teens face a unique challenge in that practices are often right after school when energy levels are at their lowest and time to prepare food is non-existent. Because cooking a healthy meal or snack isn’t always an available option, it’s important to have easy-to-grab snacks that both provide energy and are simple to digest.
What you eat right before a workout will be the fuel your body uses for energy, strength, focus, and concentration.
- The amount of time between your snack and workout will determine what you select to eat and how much.
- In general, choose a pre-exercise snack that is high in carbohydrate and lower in protein, fat, and fiber, so that it is easily digestible and well tolerated.
- Granola bars, dried fruit, yogurt, cereal snack mixes, and raisin bagels are great examples of pre-workout snacks. If the weather is cold, sip on chicken noodle soup for both fuel and fluids.
- Avoid sweet potatoes or bell peppers which may cause digestive issues.
What you eat right after a workout will restore glycogen stores, repair muscle damage, and speed up the recovery process.
- Post-exercise snacks should provide a moderate amount of protein in addition to carbohydrates.
- Aim for a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein (example: 45 grams carbs/15 grams of protein).
- Greek yogurt with a banana, a turkey and cheese sandwich, and 16 oz chocolate milk are great examples of post-workout snacks.
- Aim to refuel within 30-60 minutes of your workout.