Time for a change up! Let’s talk kids, sports, and the foods that will make the two get along swimmingly. It’s that time of year where children are knee-deep in extra-curricular activities, often putting in a full day of school followed by a grueling practice or intense game. Their jam-packed schedules are physically demanding, and as parents it can be difficult to know what fuel to give your kids to keep them strong and healthy until they hear the final whistle. Mankato Free Press and April Graff, RD offer some simple rules of thumb for feeding your athletes so they can leave it all out on the field.

Before a practice or game, kids should pair a source of carbohydrates or starch with some lean protein. Examples include an apple with natural peanut butter, whole grain crackers with a lowfat string cheese, or half a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread. Stick to quality carbs from fruit or whole grains rather then empty calorie foods like soda or candy, which will cause a blood sugar rollarcoaster and likely drain your youngster’s energy. Make sure your child also packs food for after a workout, preferably non-perishable items that they can keep in their lockers, backpacks, or gym bags, such as nutritious energy bars (Clif Bars are my favorite!). Again, you want to focus on foods that provide good carbs and protein in order to replenish depleted energy stores. To ensure adequate hydration and electrolyte balance, provide water before, after, and during strenuous activity. Proper nutrition is important not only for keeping children fueled and performing optimally, but also for preventing injuries.

Here are some more tips to keep your child at the top of their game!

1. The Truth About Carbs: A pre-game meal consisting of only carbohydrates can actually leave your child feeling tired and sluggish on the field. Try to keep the meal low in fat and fiber, with a small amount of lean protein. Try a grilled chicken breast or a fresh fruit smoothie before game time.

2. Three R’s for Recovery: Replenish, Repair, Rebuild: Try to make sure your child eats something within 30 minutes to one hour of working out. Encourage athletes to reach for food or beverages that are high in protein to help rebuild muscles, such as Odwalla’s Protein Monster smoothie.

3. Keep it Simple: Seek out simple mini meals that will fuel your athlete for the entire game, including foods that are good sources of complex carbohydrates, like whole grain pasta or brown rice. Pair with a protein source such as grilled chicken, turkey slices, lean beef, or canned tuna.

4. Stick with Whole Foods: Whole foods are always better than supplements, so be sure to check the ingredient list of any packaged foods that your child is consuming. Be wary of hidden ingredients in powders, shakes, and drinks and encourage foods such as fruits and vegetables over vitamins and meal replacement shakes or bars.

5. Make It Easy: Teens are more likely to pick the most convenient – and often less nutritious – foods and beverages. Keeping your fridge and pantry stocked with healthy grab-and-go options like fresh fruit, lowfat dairy, whole grain cereals and crackers, and trail mix will make the most convenient choice the most nutritious to boot!

For more advice on sports nutrition or healthy eating in general, be sure to browse the ADA website atwww.eatright.org. If we can help, let us know! Visit our Facebook page or send us a tweet (just search Family Food LLC)!





I had a great 1st visit with the nutritionist. I went to get tips on changing by diet, but got much more. I was able to set a physical activity and nutrition goal. The nutritionist was knowledgeable and helpful.

I am so grateful for the stellar support and advice provided by Meghan, the dietitian I'm working with. She is both knowledgeable and kind, and it's a deeply productive journey. Thank you."



Consulting with a Family Food nutritionist is turning out to be helpful in my effort to live healthy. The consultations are a way of having a sense of accountability and I get helpful feedback on my dietary decisions.



Great nutrition experts who inspire you! I am happy with the nutrition specialists at Family Food. They make me excited about nutrition, answer all my questions, and provide excellent recommendations! Thank you!!



Very professional experience. I felt she listened to my needs and adjusted to personalize my nutrition needs.



My initial appointment was helpful - helped me consider new ways of addressing some problem areas for me and helped set attainable, concrete goals.



Insightful and Informative. She was very attentive and helpful. She gave excellent tips on what to do and eat to meet my goal weight.



I feel confident about the changes we made to my goals and look forward to implementing them into my everyday routine. The health adviser was very helpful and didn't make me feel shameful for not meeting all my previous goals.



I highly recommend Family Food. The nutritionist, Erika is helpful and provides great information and positive feedback.



I had an excellent experience with the representative from Family Food. She really read into what I was telling her and offered excellent advice that I am already able to implement after one visit. She also helped to make the best use of the hour long session. Very good time management!



I met with a dietician for the first time and I had an idea of what to expect but I find this to be an invaluable resource because I have already received great ideas of things to use for meal planning and I also received more information of how to read nutrition labels. I am looking forward to my next appointment.



I really enjoyed my first session with Christine. She provided me with a lot of solid information on issues I was not aware of and positive reinforcement for behaviors I have already engaged in. I outlined specific goals I would like to work on with her guidance and she gave me some initial steps to start. I found what she had to say respectful of the space I am in and cognizant of obstacles to making lifestyle and lifelong changes.



I walked in without any specific questions/concerns, and my counseling was well-guided and ended up helping me see specific small changes that I can make to keep me on-track with my nutrition goals. Solutions fit my lifestyle and were not cookie-cutter, which is fantastic. I was able to start making improvements immediately. Thank you!



I am finding the sessions helpful and a good way to talk through improving habits and making better food choices.



I am very happy this program exists. It has been very helpful and informative. My deitition is very nice and intelligent I am happy to have her help and support.



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