Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Youth Soccer Nutrition Tips

Fuel up 
to play hard!

New ball. 
New cleats. 
New uniform. Training camps. 
And the list goes on. We want to provide the best for our soccer star, so let’s not forget one of the important factors affecting performance: 
good nutrition!


Kids need high amounts of energy to meet the demands of soccer, growth, and development. Being properly fueled and hydrated before practice (and games) helps them perform at their best and stay healthy.

Nutrition Tips before Play:

-ALWAYS eat breakfast and lunch. This fuels their muscles and their brain for the school day.

-Have an after-school snack BEFORE practice. Carbohydrates are the main fuel for sports. Muscles use carbs for energy during practice and games, and carbs are also the main fuel for the brain. Snacks high in carbohydrates and low in fat work best because they digest quickly. Avoid fatty snacks and fast  foods before practice and games, because they can lead to stomachaches and make your child feel tired.                  

-Fluids are also important before play for proper hydration. Dehydration can cause headaches, muscle cramps, and fatigue which can really hurt performance and lead to injury. 
Avoid carbonated beverages because they may cause bloating and stomachaches.

Snacks Recommended Before Play: 
Allow approximately one hour to digest the snack before practice.

-Fruits, granola bars, bowl of cereal, yogurt, bagel, pretzels or whole-grain crackers, whole grain toaster waffles, half-sandwich.

Fluids -Water, Fruit smoothie, Gatorade, Low-fat Milk or Soy milk

Good Luck and have a successful season!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fueling Water Polo - VCHS Edition

Water polo is one of the toughest sports. It requires many skills such as speed, endurance, strength, and power.  Proper nutrition is the key to achieving your optimum performance, both individually and as a team. Eating the right foods at the right times can:
  • Allow you to train longer & harder 
  • Reduce fatigue 
  • Reduce risk of injury 
  • Help you recover more quickly from practices and games
  • Improve your overall performance

Fueling Water Polo

Carbohydrates (Carbs): whole grain breads, cereals, pastas, rice, fruits, veggies, crackers, low-fat milk & yogurt.
  • Carbs are the main fuel for sports, so most of your calories should come from carbs. 
  • Your muscles use carbs for energy during practice and games, and carbs are also the main fuel for your brain. 
  • Eating carbs before practice will help keep your energy high throughout practice and allow you to train harder. This will help improve your overall performance. 
  • Carbs can also “refuel” your muscles after practice and games. Refueling as soon as possible after practice increases your muscles’ energy storage for your next practice. Overtime, this can help you recover more quickly and make practices seem easier, allowing you to train even harder. 
Protein: fish, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, eggs, beans, soy foods, milk, cheese, yogurt.
  • Protein is necessary for muscle recovery and repair after practices and games. 
  • Protein is also very important for growth and development during the teen years. 
  • Getting the right amounts of protein will help you stay healthy and improve your game. 
Fluids → water, sports drinks (Gatorade), milk, 100% juice

  • Fluids are very important before, during, and after training and games. Yes, even though you are in the water, you can still become very dehydrated if you don't drink fluids. 
  • Dehydration can cause headaches, muscle cramps, and fatigue. This can really hurt your performance. 
  • It is important to start drinking fluids at least 1 to 2 hours before practice, take short fluid breaks every 20 minutes during practice, and continue drinking fluids after practice so you can “rehydrate” your body. 
  • Water is fine during games as they less than one hour long. 
  • However, it is recommended to drink sports drinks with added carbs and electrolytes (like Gatorade) during practice, because practices are long and strenuous. This added fuel will give you energy during the last minutes of practice when your energy is running low. Water with fruit during practice can also work great, but liquid calories like Gatorade tend to digest more easily while swimming.
Tips for Fueling High School Water Polo Practice
on School Days.

ALWAYS EAT A HEALTHY BREAKFAST AND LUNCH!  How else will you survive the school day?  Student athletes who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom than those who skip breakfast.

Some healthy examples include (but not limited to):
  • breakfast: cereal with fruit and milk, large fruit/yogurt smoothie, breakfast burrito with eggs, cheese, and ham, pancakes or waffles with fruit, large bowl of oatmeal with dried fruit and milk, large bagel topped with PB and glass of milk.

  • lunch: brown bag it! Make a healthy lunch at home and bring it to school- PB & jelly sandwiches, deli meat sandwiches, fruits, cheese and crackers, sports bars, water or Gatorade. Avoid fatty, greasy fast foods and junk foods because they can cause stomach aches and make you feel tired and sleepy before afternoon practices.

HAVE A QUICK AFTER-SCHOOL SNACK.  Fuel up right before practice. It should be small, high-carb food and low in fat so it digests quickly enough before your practice.**
  • Pre-practice snack ideas (have both food & fluids) 
    • Foods: Fruit, granola bar, crackers, or pretzels. 
    • Fluids: Water, Gatorade, small low-fat, skim, or soy milk.
**You now have "Healthy Vending" machines at school, but bringing healthy fuel from home is much cheaper.   

EAT DURING STUDY HALL BEFORE THE LATER PRACTICE SESSIONS:  When study hall and later practice sessions begin, there will be a very long time between lunch and practice, so be sure to bring a "2nd lunch" to eat during study hall.                                                 

REFUEL AND REHYDRATE IMMEDIATELY AFTER PRACTICE: Eating a snack with carbs and protein as soon as possible after practice (within 30 minutes) helps your muscles recover more quickly. The snack should be readily available so you can eat it as soon as possible. Chocolate milk, sports bar, and fruit is a great post-workout recovery meal.

EAT A HEALTHY, HEARTY DINNER WITHIN 2 HOURS OF PRACTICE; DON'T FORGET FLUIDS TOO!  Your dinner meal will help you refuel and recover for the next day's practice.

Remember, the best energy booster and muscle builder for athletes is 
a healthy sports diet. 

Go Warriors!