Lunch is often one of the meals youth athletes struggle with the most. It’s usually eaten on the go, between lessons and athletes might rely on whatever they can grab from the school canteen or local shop.
With athletes set to head back to the classroom in the coming weeks, we take a look at 3 top tips for fuelling at school to keep up energy levels in the classroom and fuel their bodies for after school training.
1. Be Prepared
Whether this is knowing what your school canteen has to offer and what foods might be best to fuel your day (think high carb, good source of protein and plenty of fresh fruit and veg) or packing a lunch box to take with you, preparation is key. Don’t get caught nipping to the shops in your lunch break and ending up with a selection of crisps and chocolate bars to eat.
Lunch might be the last meal you eat before a 2-hour session that evening, so getting it right is key to performance and health.
2. Pack Snacks
Youth athletes have much higher energy needs than other kids and teens their age. This means they need to eat A LOT more as well. Eating 3 meals and 2 snacks per day should be a minimum. And this means packing the school bag with things to eat between lessons.
Some examples of robust snacks that can survive a day in a backpack are things like:
- Cereal bars
- Dried fruit
- Nuts & seeds
- Bags of pretzels or popcorn
- Hard fruits like apples or veggie sticks
3. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is key to performance. Both in the pool or on the pitch and in the classroom too. Bring a refillable water bottle to school every day and keep sipping it throughout. Athletes should make sure they start their training sessions well hydrated as even being slightly dehydrated can affect all aspects of performance form concentration and accuracy to strength and fatigue.
You can also check out the recipe section of our blogs to discover more healthy, tasty and simple dishes to help you reach your goals.
Author: Emmy Campbell, BSc., MSc, SENr., Registered Nutritionist @ Youth Sport Nutrition