5 Smart Ways to Keep Your Child Athlete Fueled

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Watch a soccer team played by a group of 10-year-old kids, and you'll intensity, focus, and effort in line with the pros. As adults, we (should) plan for our workouts with pre- and post-workout snacks, and our children and their future health deserve to learn the necessity of this, too. We all have the best of intentions, but getting started can be more difficult than we anticipate. That's why we've got five simple tips to help you begin!

1. Talk with your kids. You may feel like your children ignore you - but the truth is they are listening, so don't stop. Discuss what a body needs to perform well, the effects of protein on the muscles, how vitamins fuel your body, and how proper nutrition makes a major difference in their performance.

2. Revamp post-game nutrition. Three-quarters of moms in the aforementioned study did not know that athletes should have protein 30-60 minutes after exercise to promote muscle recovery. Quality protein sources that make great post-game snacks for kids include a nut butter sandwich, a protein recovery shake, cheese and crackers, or lean lunch meats like low-sodium turkey. In a pinch, a bottle of 100% fruit juice with a scoop of protein powder will work.

3. Recruit the other parents. Your impact on the nutrition of the entire team will be greater if all of the parents participate. Start the season by encouraging all the moms and dads to work together in creating team nutrition guidelines. Discuss and share ideas for pre- during- and after-game snacks and beverages.