“As an athlete, what you eat is integral to successful training and competition. You have to fuel your body with the right foods to make it work how you want it to work” Lucy Bryan, GB Pole vaulter and Go Faster Food Ambassador (link to Lucy).
Top 3 #GoFaster Tips for Match Day Success.
1. Would you put diesel in a Ferrari?
Every car needs fuel. The more fuel in the tank, the further the car will go. The better quality the fuel, the better the car will drive.
Our bodies work in exactly the same way. It’s a simple message; match day, tournament or training, a full tank of good quality fuel will sustain children’s energy levels and help them focus so that they can achieve their full potential. It will also help prevent injury.
A well-fuelled athlete will have the competitive edge...right up to the final whistle.
Eating highly processed foods such as sugary cereals and processed white bread will cause a spike in energy, followed by a dramatic slump. This is because they contain quick-release carbohydrate, energy which is absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream and used almost immediately. When blood sugar levels become depleted, children become hungry, tired, and irritable and find it hard to focus on the task in hand.
A combination of nutrient-rich, slow-release carbohydrates and protein will sustain young athletes as well as promote healthy muscle growth.
These breakfasts, for instance, make excellent match day choices:
Porridge oats with milk and syrup, wholegrain cereals such as Weetabix and Shredded Wheat with milk and banana, or scrambled or poached eggs on wholemeal toast. For those too nervous to eat before a match, a power smoothie works well - blend a glass of milk or yoghurt with a banana, a handful of oats and a spoon of honey.
The following packed lunches are also packed with excellent nutrients to fuel children for an afternoon match away:
Sandwich on wholemeal bread with chicken, cheese or tuna and salad, or a pasta pot with chicken and vegetables. For dessert, a banana or apple, a few energy balls (link to energy balls recipe) or an oat flapjack.
For longer tournaments, snacks such as dried fruit, malt loaf, energy bars or balls, carrot sticks and hummus, and bananas will sustain children better than chocolate bars and crisps. Hot chocolate or soup in a flask will help refuel and keep them warm between matches.
3.Mind your pees please
Children have immature thirst mechanisms and can find it difficult to recognise when they are thirsty or just forget to drink. However, a simple loss of just 1% body weight can start to decrease performance (that’s a mere 400ml for a 40kg child). Studies show that a loss of 2% body weight can reduce performance by 10-20% in terms of both mental concentration and physical stamina and co-ordination.
Encourage children to drink a glass of milk, juice or water with meals, and a glass of water an hour before sport and immediately after sport to promote recovery.
During matches, half-time oranges and water will keep them nicely hydrated until the end of the match.
Children can do the ‘pee test’ to check that they are well-hydrated. Pale-coloured urine is an indication of being well-hydrated. (link to hydration page.)
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