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Build Muscle with Protein from Foods

How to build muscle with protein from whole foods! At YSN we favour a ‘food first’ approach when it comes to supporting youth athletes and we thought we would get some ideas out to help youth athletes, parents, coaches and trainers in their food choices.
A young athlete needs power for quick, strong moves and endurance for practices and games. But how do you make sure that you get the necessary nutrients to fuel both? Here are 4 nutrition tips to keep in mind.
Protein Foods Teens
Food Is Fuel
You wouldn't put cheap fuel in a luxury car, so why put unhealthy fats and added sugars in your body? Teens in high level sport go through what is known as Peak Height Velocity (PHV) which is the period where your maximum rate of growth occurs (also known as a growth spurt). PHV typically lasts around 24-36 months and places advanced nutritional requirements on your body to be able to support your training and sport goals.
Active teenage boys need and average of 3,000 calories a day, while active girls need around 2,400 to 3,000 calories (1). Choose quality calories from fruit, vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, low-fat dairy, lean protein and heart-healthy fats. These foods provide the vitamins and minerals athletes need.
Breakfast is a great time for whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk and fruit or whole-grain waffles with peanut butter, banana and fruit juice. Most teens - even athletic ones - get enough protein through their diet. However, if you have a poor appetite or don’t consume many protein-rich foods, healthy homemade shakes can deliver the nutrients needed.
Why not put a blend of the following ingredients together:
  • Frozen Fruit. Berries. Pineapple. Peaches.
  • Fresh Fruit. Oranges. Berries. Banana.
  • Veggies. Spinach. Kale. Celery.
  • Liquids or mixers. Nonfat vanilla and strawberry yogurt. Nonfat milk. Unsweetened light soy or almond milk.
Breakfast Teens
You can blend together milk, yogurt, fruit and nut butters, such as peanut, almond or cashew butter. Use Greek yogurt or add powdered milk for an extra boost of protein. You can also add oatmeal to your protein smoothie, or use frozen yogurt instead of regular yogurt, depending on your preferences.
Prior to lunch at school, review the menu and choose performance foods instead of fried or fast food. Bean and beef burritos topped with salsa or grilled chicken sandwiches with coleslaw delivers a solid base of nutrients needed for afternoon activity.
For dinner, pasta with meat sauce accompanied by a salad and whole-grain Italian bread with olive or canola oil spread plus low-fat milk is a perfect recovery meal.
Keep healthy snacks handy — fresh fruit; veggies and hummus; low-fat cheese and yogurt; and low-fat microwave popcorn (yes that’s OK)
Protein young athletes
Carbohydrates are an important fuel for an athlete. Carbs are stored as fuel inside muscles (as glycogen) and athletes need full carbohydrate stores before intense activity. Carbs are also needed after a workout to get ready for the next day's events and to refuel muscle glycogen used in training / match play. Carbs are the only fuel that can be used for power moves — a jump, a sprint into the box or an overhead smash all need carbohydrates. Tips:
  • Eat a light snack before practice (especially if you have early lunch period), such as half of a turkey sandwich or an orange and string cheese, along with 1 to 2 cups of water.
  • After practice or a game, refuel with a water or a low-fat chocolate milk, a banana and a handful of nuts.

PROTEIN for Kids

Build Muscle with Protein from Foods
Muscles can get all the protein they need from foods! Lean meat, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt as high-quality protein sources. Specific examples include:
  • Lean Beef. This should be a staple of your diet if you are trying to gain muscle mass.
  • Skinless Chicken.
  • Cottage Cheese.
  • Eggs.
  • Whey Protein.
  • Tuna and Other Fish. Mackerel is also a good source of Omega 3&6 (Wholesome Fats)
  • Oatmeal (Porridge is a great breakfast food)
  • Whole Grains
  • Tofu, beans and lentils are good sources of protein.
Tip: Try to include protein in every meal to help muscles recover.
Pack Snacks
Active teens need snacks to boost calories and to satisfy cravings. Listen to your cravings as it is your bodies way of telling you you need a particular nutrient, just remember to satisfy cravings with healthy choices and try to avoid them by eating more substantial meals. Here some backpack-friendly snacks:
  • Juice boxes or Yoghurts
  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter crackers
  • Granola bars
  • Fig bars
  • Beef Jerky
If you still struggle with taking in adequate protein from whole foods, then YSN PROTEEN ® may be a safe alternative for you. Sometimes busy schedules, intense training and selective eating (dietary restrictions) may make it difficult to get your protein from whole foods.
Remember - food first, but top up on the go if you need to!
  1. National Health Service (NHS) accessed May 2017

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