Sports coaches, are you promoting correct nutrition and hydration?

Kids Sports Nutrition


Kids sports nutrition and sports hydration is often overlooked by kids sports coaches.  Its extremely important but not a complex educational message to deliver.  Eating healthy and drinking heaps of water is a simple message to send to the kids in sport.

Pre and post competition food intake is an important part of the coaching puzzle. Sports science continues to develop new theories and products.  

But do they all work?

Kids Sports Nutrition

What is healthy eating?

Ask the kids.  Its part of the school curriculum.  

Most kids these days can give you a basic description of the right things to put in their mouth and the things that should be eaten in moderation.

Mums and dads sometimes need the kids sports nutrition educational talk rather than the kids!

Kids Sports Nutrition - A Healthy Diet

Whole foods contain the following:

  • Carbohydrates (fruits, vegies, pasta, rice, bread and grains, beans and other legumes)
  • Protein (fish, meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs, nuts and beans)
  • Fats (animal and dairy products, nuts and oils)
  • Minerals (calcium, potassium and iron)</li>
  • Vitamins (Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K)

Kids Sorts hydration

Our bodies are made of 60% to 70% water.  It is important for kids in sports to drink water throughout the day.  

Waiting until you feel thirsty is leaving it too late.  

Kids training sessions should include multiple breaks for hydration.  

CLICK HERE for more sports hydration topics and ideas.

A simple explanation for Kids on Sports Nutrition

I have always explained kids sports nutrition this way;  when you go to the grocery shop, buy all the foods around the outside of the isles.  That’s where all the fresh food is placed.  When you go down the isles you come across all the processed foods, which should be eaten in moderation.  It's that simple!

Kids sports coaches need to ensure the athletes understand that nutrition gives the body fuel.

Without fuel you don’t have energy, you can’t train, meaning you are going to perform poorly.  

Poor Sports Nutrition

Poor nutrition has a number of effects

  • low energy levels
  • slow recovery from exercise and competition
  • reduced body development including muscle growth

Other topics kid’s sports coaches may like to include in training session discussions or athlete newsletters are;

  1. How to keep energy levels high
  2. The importance of Protein
  3. Fats, the good and bad
  4. Food and COMPETITION

Coaches involved in the individual sports of swimming, cross country running and triathlon to name a few will place a huge emphasis on kids sports nutrition and sports hydration education.  Teams sports coaches need to ensure the topics of kids sports nutrition is given air time at training sessions.

A tactic I have used before at training is to provide a different healthy snack for consumption at the completion of each session.  While the kids are enjoying the food I give a brief kids sport nutrition talk.  I always mention the following: 

10 hours of sleep a night.

1.5 – 2 liters of water per day

The emergence of obese children / overweight kids is a increasing problem in modern society.  As a kids sports coach please spread the educational message of; healthy eating is a great lifestyle choice and everything in moderation is acceptable.

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Healthy eating and sports nutrition has been continually covered in detail by many media sources. I have based much of my education in recent times from these three texts.

1. Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating

2. The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes

3. Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook-5th Edition

Pick yourself up a cheap second hand copy.