Earlier this year, I introduced you to our terrific Registered Dietitian, Kelly Murphy, who is on staff with us at Sting Soccer. We are one of the few, if not only – youth soccer programs that has a professional like Kelly on staff, available to players.
The blog mentioned how we are all being bombarded with messages about what constitutes healthy eating, how many meals we should be eating, the size of those meals and what makes up those meals. These messages are varied and numerous, leaving adults and children scratching their head.
That is why, in-part, Sting Soccer has on staff a registered dietitian. Something – while becoming more common for college and professional teams – is certainly not the rule for youth sports. In the youth game, awareness is lacking but hugely important given the taxing schedules and specific nutritional needs associated with growth and puberty. A well-balanced diet is imperative for player development, sports performance, injury prevention and general wellness.
We asked Kelly many questions about such things as health misnomers and received a ton of positive feedback on the blogs and her answers. We even got the attention of The Dallas Morning News!
Sting Soccer’s RD offers 5 nutritional must-haves for kids on summer teams ran yesterday and provides readers with five nutritional must-haves for summer practices and games.
From the article:
“Water,” Kelly says, “is clearly the No. 1 thing we want kids to be focusing on to stay hydrated.” She doesn’t just mean water breaks during practices and game; she means drinking water all the livelong day before practice as well as after.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: For every pound lost through sweating during practice, consume 16 ounces of fluid to rehydrate.
Grapes, oranges, melon, apples, bananas and kiwis and other fruits aren’t just packed with water, but also vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals….which kids might not care about but parents do. Plus, Kelly says, “all these give your kid’s body the right nutrients to last 90 minutes during a game as well as help with recovery after the game.”
Think nice, watery cucumbers and tomatoes (which some call fruits; others, vegetables). Make sure your kids get two to three cups of these and/or other vegetables every day. They contain nutrients and natural electrolytes to help kids (well, all of us, really) recover and heal from training and games.
Milk, chocolate or otherwise
This is a wonderful post-exercise drink for a variety of reasons, Kelly says. It helps meet your fluid needs, and contains protein and carbohydrates to help reenergize and rebuild your muscles.
Low-sugar electrolyte sports drinks
“I know sports drinks are talked and debated about a lot, but in the Texas summer heat they can help kids consume what they need to during training sessions and games,” Kelly says. “Although it would be great if all kids loved water and fruit, not all do and these can help them.”
Beware though, she says: “Most sports drinks contain a lot of sugar that can not only spike blood sugar and cause them to crash afterwards, but can also draw fluids into the gut, which is the opposite of what we want to happen.”
Therefore, aim for low-sugar versions such as Gatorade G-2 packets or Clif hydration shots (which come in packets). Kelly says she encourages the packets “because they limit the portion size and they do not have too much sugar. They provide energy with some electrolytes that help with maintaining hydration. Kids only needs a little bit, water can do most of the trick.”