On Wednesday, I received an email from a reader named Kristin that I thought I basically get all the time.
I promised her I would answer her question in a post at some point this week, so here we go!
You may have a post for this and if so, maybe you can direct me to
I have two teenage daughters both VERY active in playing soccer. We
work at keeping our diet whole and as natural as possible with very
few things that are processed. That being said…what are the best
foods in your opinion to fuel athletes before, in between and after
games. We often have tournaments where they will have more than one
game a day and I want to fuel their bodies with the right things. We
usually pack our own coolers with food rather than eating out and
those typically consist of some type of sandwich, fruit, homemade
granola bars, cut up veggies..
What are the best fruits and veggies, etc…
First of all, I love that you are making an effort to feed your kids real food. I truly believe that healthy habits are developed when kids are young, even though I am not the best example. Kids learn from their parents and vice versa. I was actually the first one in my family that starting eating healthy, now my sister is obsessed with Kombucha and my mom loves quinoa. Families tend to take after each other.
I also think that everyone should be eating whole, natural, unprocessed food, not just athletes. Sure athletes probably need more of it, but our bodies are all the same. They require nutrition that you can’t get from a bag of chips.
With that being said, I can assure you that nutrition plays a key role in athletic performance.
I can speak from experience and tell you that active kids require a lot of food. I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, but it’s common sense that their bodies are growing. I was a teenager not too long ago. During a growth spurt, I never stopped eating. Just ask my mom.
I like that you bring your own food to tournaments. It’s a great way to control what your kids are fueling their bodies with throughout the day. I think the best way for me to answer your question is to put myself in your shoes. If I had young kids (how young exactly?), this is what I would bring:
- Fruit: bananas, apples, pears, (or anything that travels well). I’m literally obsessed with peanut butter, so I would bring that a long as well for dipping. It’s a great healthy fat/protein source to go along with the fruit
- Trail mix is easy to carry and very energy dense. You can get a lot of calories (energy) out of a quick handful. It’s also easy and cheap to make your own!
- Whole wheat bagels (again, I would bring nut butter), but you can use any spread like hummus, cream cheese, ect…
- Instead of gatorade, try something natural like coconut water
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Yogurt with granola or cereal
- Turkey sandwiches
- String cheese and crackers
I was really picky as a kid and stayed as far away from vegetables as I could, so hopefully the above recommendations will work! Good luck with your tournaments!
Does anyone else have any suggestions to help Kristin out?