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  • David Kirsch

'Fueling' a child for Test day or Game Day! It's true, nutrition can make all the difference!

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

As we are in the throws of 'the dog days of summer,' it's hard to imagine that school a few weeks away. In my last blog, I spoke about the benefits and risks associated with teens and adolescents consuming protein drinks and supplements. Fall is a great season for stop - and - go sports such as

soccer, football and basketball. Your teen athlete needs strength, stamina and power for quick strong moves and endurance for practices and games. How do you make sure that your active teen gets the nutrients. to fuel both? Here are four essential nutrition tips:


Food is Fuel - optimal fuel for optimal performance! Eschew foods loaded with unhealthy fats and added sugars - they will 'weigh you' down. Active teenage boys need to 3,000 - 4,000 calories a day, while active girls need 2200 - 3000 calories. All calories aren't created equally! Choose from a healthy balance of calories from fruit, vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, low - fat dairy, lean protein - anything that swims or flies is ideal, with the occasional burger thrown in as a treat, and heart - healthy fats - olive oil, avocado and nuts. These nutrient - rich foods provide the vitamins and minerals athletes need.


Healthy Snacking - keep nutritious snacks handy - fresh fruit; veggies and hummus; low -fat cheese and low-fat yogurt; edamame; and nuts are at the top of my list for healthy snacking. If your child is craving more, look for organic granola and natural maple syrup with fruit.


It's All About the Carbs -the essential fuel for an athlete! Complex carbs are stored as fuel inside muscles and athletes need full carbohydrate stores before strenuous activity, and are needed post - activity/workout to recover and to help prepare your muscles and body for the next day. The simple carbs should be consumed conservatively, but get your child to eat fewer processed carbs as a rule. Game day, test day or just any day!


Protein Builds Muscle - include protein in every meal to build and help muscles recover.

  • Ideally, get your protein from real food - anything that swims or flies; eggs, low - fat milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu, and edamame are excellent sources of protein .

  • Vegans/vegetarians don't despair - dried beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds are all good sources of protein. If you're vegan, milk products are out of the question but lentils and beans are amazing sources of protein.