It’s no secret that athletes demand a lot of their bodies. Nutrition is a critical part of training and performance.

But what happens if an athlete doesn’t adequately refill the tank to support their activity? Underfueling can result. Underfueling can be short-term, like feeling tired one day during practice or simply lacking energy for normal activities.

Long-term underfueling can lead to greater problems. Frequent injury or illness, hormonal dysfunction, mood swings and low iron are a few consequences.

To protect against underfueling, your best practice is to eat regular, balanced meals, including all of the food groups (show visual). Be sure to pack snacks with you daily, like granola bars, cheese sticks and fruit. Having a recovery option, like chocolate milk, after an especially tough practice or game can also help to prevent underfueling.

Remember, to get the best out of your body, put the best INTO your body.