So, young athletes have the highest caloric needs of any other life stage. It’s really important that they eat the right kinds of calories and help fuel that athletic performance and growth demands. So, some athletes are really trying to gain weight, we’re thinking of maybe football players or those young teenagers that just went through a growth spurt and need to fill out with the appropriate amount of muscle. So, targeting those foods that have higher calories but also really good nutrients. For example, we have some nuts or energy balls that are made with nut butter and dried fruit – they have a lot of calories. I also target drinking calories as a form of getting every piece of nutrition you can around practices and competitions. My favorite is chocolate milk, but kids can also rely on fruit juices, fruit smoothies or other caloric beverages, especially with some good protein to rebuild.
So, for student athletes that are trying to maintain their weight and maybe not put on too much, we really want to fill out the diet with colorful fruits and vegetables and then target those calories around practices and competitions as well. So, a nutrient dense salads and fruits and vegetables paired with a good protein source are excellent options, choosing some lower-fat dairy options is a really good start, and again, maybe minimizing some mindless eating and some of those highly palatable foods that don’t have a lot of nutrition to offer.