With youth athletes off school and training sessions and competitions cut, days can easily become less structured, meaning nutrition might take a hit. We’ve put together a list of 10 simple steps to take the stress out of healthy eating, to make sure parents and young athletes can support their bodies through these tough times.
1. Get your kids in the kitchen! If you’re looking for a great interactive way to teach your children at home, then cooking up meals and snacks together is the ideal activity. It’s a great way to get kids involved in healthy eating and they’re more likely to eat and enjoy the food if they’ve prepared it themselves.
2. Cooking fresh meals gives you much more control over the ingredients and portion sizes, so you and your young athletes will know exactly what’s fuelling their bodies and how much they’re getting.
3. Smoothies are a great mini meal that kids can make up on their own and are a perfect way of packing in the 5-a-day. Let them choose their own ingredients and experiment with different fruits and flavours.
4. With supermarket trips restricted, you might be relying on ingredients you already have in. Take a look through your cupboards at the beginning of the week and make a meal plan with the foods you can. Getting the kids involved in this is a great way to get them more interested in the foods they eat and develop their healthy habits.
5. If you are struggling to buy fresh food in your shop, remember, tinned and frozen are just as nutritious and keep for longer in the cupboard and freezer.
6. The same goes for protein too. Tinned fish, beans and nuts are great sources of protein with longer shelf lives, especially if fresh meat isn’t an option.
7. With more time spent in the house, it’s easy to find yourself looking in the fridge through boredom. Try to set up a routine and stick to it each day.
8. When you are looking for snacks, have some healthy options ready and waiting. Pre-cut fruit and yoghurt or fresh veggies and dips are perfect to have in the fridge ready for when young athletes get hungry throughout the day.
For more ideas, take a look at our post on Snack Ideas for Young Athletes.
9. Stay hydrated! Infuse water with fruits like lemon or orange slices, strawberries or even cucumber for added taste. Encourage your youth athlete to keep drinking throughout the day, especially if they’ve had a home workout session.
10. Remember to eat a balanced diet, high in vitamins and minerals to support our body’s immune system and health!
For more simple ideas on nutrition for young athletes and their families, check out the education forum on our site for 100’s of free articles and resources.
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Just as your youth athlete will need to fuel well to stay healthy, the same goes for parents too. Ensuring you eat a healthy and balanced diet will help to keep your energy levels high, so you’re better equipped to handle the stress and challenges that life throws at you.