Eat Before Exercise:
Just like adults, kids also need to be sufficiently fueled to do activity. Running without food in the tank is like trying to drive a car that’s low on fuel-it doesn’t work as well. If your child is lethargic during exercise, they might not enjoy it, be less active during the game or even stop taking part. Encourage active kids to eat per-exercise snacks such as banana with peanut butter, yogurt with berries or cereal and milk. Suggest they eat per-activity meals two to four hours before exercise to give their body time to digest the food.
Stay Hydrated For Sport:
When people sweat, they lose water through the skin. This is great for cooling the body down during sport but it can also lead to dehydration. Be careful to ensure that your child drings enough fluid before, after and during exercise. Giving them a water bottle to carry around in their school or sport bag is a wise move. Help them to spot signs of dehydration, which include lethargy and/or dark urine. Research shows that kids drink more of a sports drink than plain water, possibly because they prefer the taste. But do remember that sports drinks are packed with sugar and calories. Our advice is to consider making your own fruit juice, a pinch of salt and sugar and water.
Plan Post Activity Snacks:
Pack healthy snacks into your child’s lunch box or leave them in the fridge or store cupboard, so they have something nutritious to eat after physical activity. Families are busy and your child may often be rushing off to school, sports practice or a part-time job. If your child doesn’t have easy access to healthy food, the temptation to tuck into a chocolate bar, fizzy drink, packet of crisps or other unhealthy packaged food may be much higher. Bananas, low-fat yogurts, oatcakes and hummus, even chocolate milk, make great post-exercise snacks.
Increase Their Calorie Intake:
Active kids need to consume more calories. According to research, school-aged children between six and 12 generally need to take in 1,600-2,200 calories a day. If your child is more active than the average kid, they will need to consume more calories. It’s that simple. And teenagers need even more calories still, especially during puberty. But how can you tell if your child is under-nourished? Look out for signs of lethargy. If they seem unusually shattered, it could be a sign of insufficient calorie intake.
Cook Wholesome Carbohydrates:
Wholesome carbohydrates, such as grains, fruit and vegetables, provide great fuel for activity. Plus, each group offers its own nutritional benefit. Wholegrain carbohydrates are also rich in fiber and nutrients. A few examples include porridge, popcorn, brown pasta and wholegrain bread. Refined grains, such as white bread or pasta, also offer additional nutrients in the form of iron and B vitamins, so it’s fine to serve children these too. And fruit and vegetables pack plenty of vitamins and antioxidants, which are great for good health and boosting the immune system.