The Secret To Getting Your Teen To Excel In Sports (and life!) is NUTRITION!! This is the #1 way you can guarantee your teenager will excel in any sport they want to participate in and also a guaranteed way to set them up for success for all things in life!
Eating well and staying nourished, especially for an athletic teenager, is truly one of the most important things we can do to help them stay strong, energetic, injury free and happy (YES – good nutrition absolutely contributes to better attitudes!).
Something that we see ALL THE TIME in our nutrition coaching program with kids of this age (13-17) is that they are massively under-eating for the most part and the calories they are consuming aren’t always the most balanced. Which means there is so much being left on the table in terms of their sports performance, ability to recover, ability to stay injury free and, of course, their ability to excel far beyond what their other teammates and opponents might be able to do.
Teen nutrition is tricky because broccoli will never sound appealing to a 16 year old (or adults). So we have to get creative! Instead of pulling things out of their diet or saying “you can’t/won’t eat this for whatever reason” (which will only cause a major power struggle!), try ADDING things into their diet! Examples would be:
“Lets eat a cup of vegetables today in addition to everything else you eat” DO NOT take anything away. Just add in 1 cup of vegetables every day.
“Let’s eat balanced meals this week! Balanced means each meal has a protein, carbohydrate and a fat included.” If pasta is on the lunch plan that week challenge them to eat some protein along with it!
Eating enough of the right calories goes A LONG WAY in terms of energy and performance levels. Especially with athletes, under-eating is way way too common and can not only lead to tired and very crabby kids, but will also lead to a higher rate of injury and lack of recovery. Being sure they aren’t skipping meals and have enough meals to get through their training sessions or sometimes multiple training sessions every day is a big big key to success.
We know this is all easier said than done and that there is only so much control a parent has after a certain age, BUT leading by example, always encouraging those healthier eating habits and giving them examples of the benefits it can provide can all help them succeed when it comes to eating well and eating to excel in their sport.
If you or your teen need help in sports nutrition or just nutrition in general, reach out to us! We would love to help!
– Kari Kirkendall Nutrition Coach/Youth Fitness Director