Is your child a young athlete?How you can plan an ideal meal for your child


I am a parent of a young athlete & I am always overwhelmed and bombarded by the sports nutrition industry by all their high performance snacks, hydrate drinks, high protein shakes etc etc…

Always think would it be good to add to my child’s daily diet & believe me its always difficult to choose the best for my young performer.

Are you too a mum of a marathon runner or a swimmer or a parent of a devoted dancer, or mum of a future cricketer 🙂 What’s your nutritional approach to your child?

I am sharing here my nutritional approach of planning an ideal meal for my young super performer, hope the plans might help you too:)

The most important thing I take care for my growing athlete is to offer snacks that provide good fuel. In other words I keep snacks wholesome and make sure they help athletic performance, while benefitting overall growth and health.

Wholesome Snacks

The best snacks for all young athletes  include a combination of protein and carbohydrate and fats  , as well as other nutrients such as calcium, iron and potassium. We cant ignore fluids.

If the snacks is a Protein source it transforms it as a power snack and helps the muscle grow and recover after exercise whereas Carbohydrate provides a readily available fuel source for working muscles.

Let’s take a look at food sources of each:
  • Fruits including fresh, dried, canned or frozen
  • Whole grains and refined grains such a s low sugar whole grain cereals, oats, multigrain breads, brown or white rice, whole wheat or regular pasta
  • Milk, soymilk, yogurt and cheese
  • Beans and starchy vegetables
  • Colorful vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Lean Meat
  • Fish
  • Beans and Lentils (including hummus and other bean dips)
  • Cow milk, Soymilk, Cheese, Yogurt
  • Nuts and Nut Butters
Fats :
  • Nuts
  • Ghee
  • Healthy cooking oils
  • Nut Butters
  • Fish
  • Seeds
Do you know- What are the nutritional needs of children and teens?

Healthy foods provide the energy needed for growth and physical activity to a young athelete. Whether your child or teen is a more serious athlete or participates in more leisurely daily physical activity, nutrients are an important part of a healthy diet.

What does Macronutrients do:

Carbohydrates, protein and fats provide energy for physical activity.

What does Micronutrients do :

These are the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy. Athletes need to be extra careful and make sure they get enough calcium, vitamin D and iron along with their macronutrients. 


Fluids, especially water, are very important for athletes because they:
prevent dehydration, and help maintain a healthy body temperature. To stay healthy, athletes need to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise. The amount of fluid an athlete needs depends on many factors, including age, body size, degree of physical activity, and the environment.

Before exercise, athletes should drink 400 to 600 mL of water (2 to 3 hours before the event). During exercise, athletes should drink 150 to 300 mL every 15 to 20 minutes. If the total time spent exercising or participating in a sport is less than an hour, water is usually enough. If the activity lasts longer than an hour and/or takes place in hot, humid weather, sports drinks (which contain sodium and glucose) are recommended. Source: Jill Castle, Sports Nutrition Expert

After exercise, athletes need to drink enough to replace the fluid they lost from sweating. Sodium-containing fluids (sport drinks) and snacks will help quench thirst and keep fluids in the body.

But you must be wondering what should I give to my athlete what he  needs actually? ‘ I have all the knowledge but I struggle with the planning, I mean giving my child a whole structure’, said a parent of a dedicated swimmer and a yoga passionate child.

Meal planning helps ensure your young athlete gets what he or she needs, especially when getting ready for an athletic event. Here are few guidelines:
Before an event or practice:

  • Meals should include sources of carbohydrates, protein and fat.
  • Limit fibre intake.
  • Avoid meals high in fat because they can make you feel tired.

Meal timing is very important. Athletes should:

  • Eats a meal at least 3 hours before an event to allow digestion and to avoid stomach upset during the event.
  • Have a snack or liquid meal 1 to 2 hours before an early morning practice or an event, and then a full breakfast after.
  • Have pre-game snacks or liquid meals 1 to 2 hours before any event to allow digestion.
  • Use sports drinks especial preference to water , fruit to help keep energy levels high during an event.

Post-practice or afternoon game snack:

The hours after practice or a weekday competition may necessitate snacking before your family dinner. Make sure to have pre-prepared snacks ready when your kids arrive home hungry from a tough after-school practice or game. This can include sliced fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt and smoothies.

Post-game family dinner.

For a tasty and filling post-game family dinner, include all five food groups — protein, grains, vegetables, fruit and dairy. Serve baked or completely your regional staple food. Include whole grains, for example, whole-wheat pasta with a low-fat tomato or cheese sauce.

Toss in vegetables or include a side green salad. Then, complete your meal with fruit for dessert, such as low sugar millet kheer  accompanied by a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk. Or create an instant yogurt parfait with layers of low-fat vanilla yogurt, fresh, frozen or canned fruit, and crunchy whole-grain cereal.


This is all about my nutritional approach. Do share your comments if you are a parents of an athlete, and all about your nutritional approach. Yes, they need extra. Be prepared for their high energies.

Happy Feeding !





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