What kids should eat before, after exercise

KUSA - A racecar never begins a race without a full tank of gas, and neither should your child. Eating a healthy meal or snack before their workout ensures that their body starts with a full tank of energy.

It is important to fuel your body with quality carbohydrates, lean protein, heart-healthy fats, and fluids prior to exercise in order to enhance energy and endurance.

Ideas for pre-exercise foods (eat 60 to 90 minutes before workout) include:

  • Toast with nut butter and a fruit
  • Fruit with plain Greek yogurt and unsalted nuts
  • Oatmeal with a banana and skim milk
  • Low-fat cheese with whole grain crackers and fruit
  • Lean meat (such as chicken or fish) with a salad or fruit bowl
  • Half of a Turkey and Swiss sandwich and a side of fruit

Ideas for post-workout foods (eat within 60 minutes of completing your workout) include:

  • Fruit with plain Greek yogurt and unsalted nuts
  • A snack bar (I like KIND Nuts and Spices bars because they are low in sugar and high in protein)
  • A glass of low-fat milk and fruit
  • Peanut butter or lean meat and cheese sandwich on whole grain bread
  • Brown rice and beans with a whole grain tortilla
  • Two boiled eggs with tomatoes and whole wheat English Muffin

Before, during, and after exercise it is important to stay hydrated. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking:

Before exercise:

  • 16-20 ounces of water at least four hours before exercise
  • Eight to 12 ounces of water 10-15 minutes before exercise

During exercise:

  • 1/2 to 1 cup of water every 15-20 minutes during your workout (you may need more depending on your body size and if you are exercising in a hot or humid environment)

After Exercise:

  • 20 to 24 ounces of water after a workout for every pound of weight lost during the workout.
  • Check the color of your urine. When you're hydrated, your urine will be a light straw color.

It is important to note that recreational athletes should drink water for hydration and do not need sport drinks, which have a lot of extra sugars and calories. However, if your child is intensely exercising for more than 60 to 90 minutes (particularly in hot, humid conditions), sports drinks can provide you with necessary carbohydrates, sodium, and potassium. Sports drinks can also be good for athletes who participate in extremely strenuous exercise, such as people running marathons, triathlons, or soccer. Getting enough liquids is important to replace fluids lost through both sweat and respiration, which can lead to dehydration.

Nutrition is a vital aspect in performance and exercise ability.Using the tips provided above, you will be on the right track to fuel your body for success.

Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD is an assistant professor and registered dietitian in the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for daily nutrition and health tips!

Getting kids in the kitchen

Studies prove that getting kids involved in the kitchen will help them eat healthier. But there are obviously safety risks when getting a child near ovens and stoves and knives. So Chef Jason joined 9NEWS Thursday morning with some tips for parents, including how to make an omelette. 

(© 2015 KUSA)


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