Nutrition for school-aged children and young athletes

Young sports people need high performance fuel everyday to make sure they get the most out of their sporting activities. Whether they are doing sport for fun, fitness or competition there are some basic things you can do to maximise performance as well as growth and development.

What can I do?

  • Promote healthy food choices to be eaten before participating, in between events and for recovery
  • Talk about why some foods are better than others for performance
  • Encourage eating well every day as part of a healthy lifestyle and not just when they’re doing sport
  • Encourage sporting venues, canteens and committees to support your efforts by offering healthy food and drink choices

Food choices for fuel

Here are some ideas for foods that are low in fat and high carbohydrate. These foods are ideal to eat before sports:

  • Breakfast cereal with reduced fat milk.
  • Porridge with reduced fat milk and fruit juice.
  • Toasted muffins, crumpets or bread with honey, syrup, jam, vegemite or baked beans
  • Pasta with a low-fat sauce. Stay away from creamy varieties and choose tomato based sauces instead.
  • Jacket potato (with low fat cheese or sour cream).
  • Banana sandwich.
  • Fruit salad and yogurt.
  • Fresh fruit smoothie, with low fat milk and yogurt.

 According to advice from the Physio Footscray, drinking water is also important. Encourage your young athletes to always carry a water bottle with them. After doing sports the same principles should be followed (low fat, high carbohydrate and plenty of water), but protein should also be added.

  • Pasta with lean mince, chicken breast or tuna and vegetables, and a tomato-based sauce.
  • Rice or noodles with stir-fried lean meat and vegetables.
  • Burritos with lean mince, beans and fresh salad (limit the amount of cheese and sour cream).
  • Jacket potato with fillings such as beans, tuna and corn, chicken and tomato sprinkled with cheese.
  • Warm chicken or beef salad (avoid high-fat creamy dressing).
  • Home-made pizzas.
  • Grilled lean meat with sweet potato and steamed greens or potato salad.

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