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Posted March 20, 2021 by:nepeds

Sports and Nutrition

Written by Kierstin Ullom, APRN

Want to give your young athlete an edge on the competition?  Good nutrition is the key to support the ongoing growth and development of your athlete. 

Where to start?  Whole, healthy, nutrient-dense foods!

Secondly, taking in enough calories to support growth, body processes/functions/repair, AND activity is vital!  Young athletes need healthy calories: breakfast, lunch, dinner, pre-workout/post-workout snacks.  If athletes do not consume enough calories, this leads to breakdown of body processes, inability to repair tissues, loss of muscle mass, injury, fatigue, poor performance.  Boys should strive for 2500-3000 calories per day, girls 2200-2700.  This will vary with intensity/length of exercise and stage of growth.

Lastly, hydration!  Just a 2% drop in hydration can begin to negatively affect athletic performance.  Hydration is an on-going, every day activity.  Drinking water just before competition cannot adequately hydrate a working body.  Drink water all day, every day.  Take a water bottle to school, drink it, refill it, drink some more!  Sports drinks are great for replacing electrolytes and fluids lost during long, sweaty competitions or workouts.  But keep in mind the extra sugar, salt, and empty calories! Most athletes don’t need sports drinks on a daily basis. 



Kierstin Ullom, APRN, has been with Northeast Cincinnati Pediatrics since 2016. She sees patients Monday, Tuesday and Friday in our Mason office.