The following are guidelines for nutrition and hydration to optimize recovery and growth for your son throughout the year. This guideline is general and discusses food structure; it is not designed for individuals with food allergies or special diets due to medical restrictions.
In addition to proper nutrition and hydration individuals should sleep 7-9 hours per day. This is the best form of recovery and growth. Proper rest allows for optimal brain function and enables athletes to be at their best each and every day. This ensures a solid work ethic and helps with physical improvement during the practice schedule. More sleep is better.
The body is made up of 75% water. Muscle and brain function are optimized through proper hydration. Water is the first choice for consumption. If this is the only portion of the guideline you follow, you will be 50% better. Dehydration can decrease performance by 10-15%, cause lapses in focus, delay mental alertness and create a lethargic response when playing.
A general rule for water consumption on a normal day is ½ you body weight in ounces.
If your son or daughter weighs 80 pounds then he should consume 40 ounces of water per day.
Additional water is sometimes needed on hot days and when practicing. Weighing your son before and after practice will tell you if additional water is necessary. For every one-pound of body weight lost during practice add an additional 16-24 ounces to replenish the weight loss.
There are four steps to summarize a proper eating pattern:
1) Eat Breakfast
2) Eat every three to four hours
3) Follow a balanced eating program
4) Plan your day
Breakfast is the most important meal for any one, especially kids growing and developing. The last 8 hours the body has been recovering and resting without any intake of calories. The body needs calories to survive, grow and develop. Once the body awakens in the morning food should be consumed. The proper types of food should follow a balanced eating pattern, this includes:
1) Fruit vegetables and nuts (as long as no nut allergies)
2) Lean source of Protein
3) Healthy fats
4) Healthy carbohydrates
Fruits and vegetables serve as anti-oxidants for your body to help decrease inflammation, assist with recovery, and provide vitamins to the body. The nuts are a source of fat and provide omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain growth, development and function.
All orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, dark green vegetables, berries, greens, broccoli, kiwi, pineapple, are some examples.
Uncooked nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, cashews are best.
Lean source of Protein is important for growth and rebuilding muscle tissue. Protein also helps strengthen the immune system, control blood insulin levels, and makes healthy red blood cells.
Animal protein: fish, chicken, eggs, turkey, beef, pork, contain essential amino acids, which are complete proteins.
Dairy Protein: Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese
Vegetable proteins: Tofu, beans nuts and seeds
Healthy Fats have numerous benefits to the body here are a few: Repair damaged muscle tissue and speed healing, important for brain function and development, physical growth and development, decrease inflammation, increases metabolism- allows for better source of energy.
Extra virgin olive oil, Avocado, Fish (salmon, herring, sardines, tuna, halibut) nuts and seeds: walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, brazil, sesame seeds.
Important to note that foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils or hydrogenated oils are detrimental to the body and do not allow the fatty acids in the body to work effectively. These are foods that have along shelf life and are usually packaged.
Healthy Carbohydrates usually get a bad reputation and individuals feel they need to minimize carbohydrates to be healthier. This would be equivalent to driving your car without filling it up with gasoline. Healthy carbohydrates were discussed earlier in the fruits and vegetable section. Additional sources of healthy carbohydrates are dark wheat and grains; the darker the grain the healthier the carbohydrate. Please note that all wheat bread is not equal. The first ingredient should read whole-wheat flour. Enriched wheat flour is an imposter.
Breads: Whole wheat, rye, pumpernickel,
Vegetables, yams, red potatoes
Try and avoid, French fries, potato chips, chicken nuggets, and whole unprocessed plant foods.
In summary your son should drink plenty of water, eat breakfast consisting of a lean protein and some fruit with a healthy carbohydrate, eat a snack or meal every three to four hours and get 7-9 hours of sleep.