To play and recover like a pro, you have to eat like a pro!

Hydration and good nutrition are the key to keeping your superstar athletes fuelled with important nutrients for growth and development. It also helps your kids perform their best and keep them having fun during their games and trainings.

When it comes to game day after game snacks are best when they’re easy to grab, eat and digest. Ideally, they should be light and nutritious instead of being highly processed. You want to fill your child’s tummy with whole foods and carbohydrates that will provide energy and assist with rehydration, including important vitamins and minerals that contribute to good health and performance.

Here’s a breakdown of some basic nutrition groups:

  • Calcium – Helps build strong bones to resist breaking and stress fractures. Calcium-rich foods include milk, cheese, yogurt and broccoli.
  • Iron – Helps carry oxygen to all the different body parts that need it. Think foods such as eggs, dried fruit and leafy green vegetables.
  • Protein – This helps build and repair muscles, most children get plenty of protein through a balanced diet. Protein-rich foods include lean meats, beans and nuts.
  • Carbohydrates – Carbs provide energy for the body and are an important source of fuel. Look for wholegrains like whole wheat pasta, brown rice, fruit and vegetables.

There are plenty of nourishing and healthy snacks available but if you’re stuck for ideas, check out these inexpensive options you can prepare in minutes. They’re great if you’re feeding your family on the sideline during the game too!

Sweet Snacks

  • Fruit such as orange slices, watermelon slices and bananas.
  • Trail mix with nuts, such as almonds and cashews.
  • Dried fruit including dates, cranberries and raisins.
  • Muesli bars with nuts, seeds and oats.
  • Plain popcorn with no butter or additives.

Savoury Snacks

  • Celery with peanut butter.
  • Cheese with whole grain crackers or brown rice cakes.
  • Hummus and raw vegetables such as carrots, cucumber or capsicum.
  • Soft boiled eggs.
  • Sushi rolls.

Encourage positive food choices by avoiding greasy, salty and sugary snacks such as sweets and processed meats. These can slow digestion, cause a spike in blood sugar levels and drive dehydration which may leave your athlete feeling sluggish or unable to concentrate!

The fluids consumed by players can also have a big impact on their ability to train, play and recover well. According to Sports Dietitians Australia, one of the best things you can do to ensure children are healthy and performing well is to have ample water available to ensure they remain hydrated. Fluid lost through sweat and breathing that isn’t replaced can zap strength and energy. Water is the best choice to stay hydrated however if your child needs some convincing, or you just want to make it special, add some cut fruit such as orange slices and strawberries.

It’s important for kids to eat well before the game to ensure their body has enough energy to perform at its best. Check out these healthy pre-game breakfast ideas to give your child the breakfast of champions they deserve