Archive for Sports Nutrition

05 Jan 2017

Bone Mass and Activity

No Comments Nutrition Bites, Sports Nutrition

The prevalence of osteoporosis is increasing in modern society. Fragile bones make life difficult and painful. We know that our adult bone mass was determined during childhood. Read more

01 Feb 2014

Powering Your Junior Athlete

No Comments Sports Nutrition

I was inspired after meeting a top junior athlete today to write about nutrition for athletic children.

I am an athlete myself and have competed for several years – sometimes at an elite level – as a runner. I also work as a sports dietitian and work with young talented athletes mostly via a talent program at Loughborough College.

Maintaining adequate nutrition in athletic children is so important for their general health, growth and development, and to ensure they perform well. Not keeping up with energy requirements will mean the child becomes tired and lethargic and also risks injury, immune system assaults and even poor growth.

Children who are constantly on the go need to ensure they eat regularly to top up their energy levels. Eating enough can be difficult – especially if training or competing gets in the way of meal times and if food immediately prior to exercise causes some discomfort. Careful planning of meals – even if it means heating up leftovers or making use of your freezer – mean that a healthy meal can be eaten to ensure good recovery after training. It is all too tempting to stop at a fast-food outlet instead of having a ‘proper’ family meal containing good quality carbohydrate, protein and vegetables. Taking nutritious food and snacks to sports events also means that the ubiquitous burger van isn’t the first port of call on a day out.

Hydration is also really important for junior athletes – children can’t regulate their body temperature quite as well as adults, and can also get very distracted – missing their initial thirst cues. Make sure you send your child to school with a water bottle and encourage them to drink regularly. And yes, water is best!

Finally, supplements such as energy gels, protein bars and sports drinks are not made for children. I don’t encourage children use these and worry about how vulnerable junior athletes are to being mis-sold these products that have the potential to do more harm than good.

Hayley Kuter
Paediatric (and Sports) Dietitian