Children who are in sports require healthy, well-balanced meals and snacks and other essential nutrients to perform well in sports. Focusing on the right nutrients is important for sports performance as it can assist with energy levels and recovery. A common issue experienced in sports people is not consuming the required amount of energy from food.
The following points should be considered with regards to excelling at sports:
- Super foods such as Medium chain triglycerides, Essential Fatty Acids and Antioxidants: These foods help to reduce inflammation and swelling, promote protein synthesis in the muscles, improves performance and stamina. Eg ragi, coconut oil, turmeric, herbs, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, dates, sattu powder, goond gatira drumstick, zucchini, eggs etc
- Include fruits and vegetables: Make sure to include different colored fruits and vegetables daily as this will boost your energy levels and help you perform better.
- Include nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds have essential fatty acids and good quality proteins that will help in muscle building and aid in recovery.
- Include Stamina Boosters: Feed your children a well-balanced diet and encourage them to eat nutritious food. Eating well can help to improve a child's endurance.
Stamina Boosters: Complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables), iron rich foods (pulses and legumes, nuts and seeds, non-vegetarian foods etc)
- Include Immunity Boosters: Immunity is critical for children into sports. Focusing on the right foods will strengthen the immune system and will ensure that the child does not fall sick that often.
Immunity Boosters: Super foods such as Ragi, Coconut oil, Spices (Haldi, Cinnamon), Herbs (Coriander leaves, Holy basil) and Nuts and Seeds (Almonds, Poppy seeds, Chia seeds).
- Include a pre-practice snack:Make sure you are eating something before training/match, as this will ensure your energy levels are up throughout the match and your muscles will be able to work better. E.g. of pre-practice snack: Sweet potato/banana/peanut butter sandwich etc.
- Include post practice snack:It is very important to include a post-match snack as it aids in recovery and reduces muscle damage. Good post-practice snacks such as curd, nuts and seeds, milk, eggs, kala chana etc.
- Breathing exercise: Breathing exercises really help to keep you mentally and physically fit in terms it help you stay active.
- Avoid junk foods: Foods like pizza, burgers, chips, cold drinks, pasta will only affect your performance for e.g. you won’t be able to run faster, you will feel tired and sluggish and you won’t be able to concentrate on your coaches instructions.
- Hydration: It is very important to keep yourself hydrated. Drink at least 10-12 glasses of water daily. If you are not well hydrated, you can feel tired and giddy. Make sure you carry a bottle of water during the match/training and sip on it during the break.
Healthy Options: Water, Coconut water, buttermilk, milkshakes etc.
- Sleep well:Resting is very important so that you are refreshed in the morning and you can concentrate and play better the next day.