After a long, exhausting day of practice or a game, every athlete wants to run right to their fridge and devour everything they see, but how important is it to stay on top of your nutrition and diet as an athlete?
Depending on how active they are, teen athletes may need anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 calories per day to meet their energy needs, as reported to Teen Health. Even if athletes think they’re eating healthy, different food groups help different parts of their body grow, repair and keep healthy.
Students from South have more to say on that.
“Eating healthy is really important during sports season because it makes you feel better and eating junk food can slow you down,” said Freshman Addison Meehan.
Caffeine, energy drinks and other sugary carbs can give athletes a quick burst of energy but leaves them ready to crash before a workout even begins, according to Teen Health. Sugary food can also increase the chance of dehydration which is dangerous for any athlete.
Eating a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables that provide minerals and vitamins are extra important for a great sports performance.
Talking about how an athlete’s diet affects their performance, sophomore Makayla Gaddis goes on to say how if she’s working out, then she’s eating good foods.
“I feel more energized during practice eating right than when I eat unhealthy foods then I get cramps and feel sluggish,” said Gaddis.
According to Teen Health, striving for a diet rich in protein, moderate carbohydrates and low fats is the best way to make sure as an athlete that you can perform at your peak. South Athletes had similar ideas about which food group they chose to eat more of or less during their sports season.
“I try to eat more protein and more vegetables because I know it has a lot of vitamins and keeps my body charged,” said Sophomore Jamison Mcclaran.
Meehan and Gaddis also share similar diets during season, eating high protein, low carbs and vegetables for energy, both stating that it helps you keep your muscles strong and gain more.
No matter the sport, eating right can help mood changes and energy levels increase. Being active calls for more calories and a need for more food to keep the body growing and staying up with the pace of sports.
Drinking more water, eating more protein, veggies, fruit and some carbs can help mental and physical changes as a teenage athlete. Eating healthy leads to being happy and living a longer active life, so go out there and play for the love of sports.