Fuel Up and Play Hard
By Becca Bresemann, Texas A&M Dietetic Intern
Reviewed by Katy Bowen, MS, RDN, LD
What is your child doing to keep busy this summer? Whether they’re heading to camp, playing summer sports, or simply staying active, getting the best nutrition is an essential part of keeping your child strong and energized. Here’s a few important tips to keep in mind:
Texas heat can be intense, which means it’s crucial to get enough water when at a sports practice or outdoor event. It’s generally recommended that children ages 4 to 13 get about 7 to 10 cups of water daily and that teenagers get about 10 to 14 cups per day. This may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that some of this fluid can come from foods that contain water, such as fruits and vegetables. During outdoor activities, encourage your child to drink at least half a cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes to help them stay hydrated.
If your child is exercising for a longer period or sweating a lot, they may need something more than water, such as a sports drink, to help rehydrate. Many sports drinks are high in sugar, so look for one that’s lower in calories or try making one at home with our Diego’s Sports Drink recipe:
½ cup pineapple
½ cup orange juice
2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon salt
Mix all ingredients into a pitcher and serve.
We often say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and this is especially true before a sports event. Starting your child’s day off with whole grains, such as oatmeal or whole wheat toast, and fruit, such as bananas or apples, will help them stay energized while they play hard. If their practice is later in the day, pack a whole grain snack they can eat before they head onto the field.
Protein is another important nutrient to help the body stay energized and build strong muscles. Eating a good source of protein after exercising will help your child stay strong and recover more quickly. Pair it with a serving of grains or fruit for maximum recovery power. Here’s a few protein-packed snack ideas to help your child refuel after the big game: