Most kids, especially young athletes, look up to the superstars in their chosen sport. They train hard and even study and imitate the moves of their favorite players so that they can "be like them."
However, being a high-powered athlete is not only seen in their sports moves or the way they train but also in the food they eat. This is one thing young athletes usually don't pay attention to, with the notion that all they have to do is "exercise and train every day."
This is where the importance of a parent's guidance comes in. As a parent, we know you only want what's best for your budding Olympian. To help them achieve their goal, monitoring their training schedules and the food they eat is of utmost importance.
A high protein diet is essential for young athletes, and if the meals they eat every day aren't sufficient to meet their body's protein needs, you can always opt for naturally-sourced whey protein to supplement their diet.
Read on as we share with you the importance and benefits of a high protein diet for young athletes and what foods you can give them in order to meet their daily nutritional needs.
Why Is It Important For A Young Athlete To Eat A Diet Rich In Protein?
A young athlete should have a diet rich in protein simply because protein is essential for muscle building and tissue repair. As someone who trains every day and pushes their bodies to the limit, kids need protein so their bodies can heal from rigorous training.
This is why parents should supervise what their child is eating. Engaging in strenuous training without eating a protein-rich diet can only cause more harm than good. So, if your child is on a vegetarian diet or is a picky eater, you could try giving them a chocolate-flavored protein supplement that is naturally sourced and is free from transfat and sugar.
How Does Protein Improve Athletic Performance?
Both losing weight and building muscles require more than just lifting weights and working out. Any kind of body composition change depends on one's diet just as much as their workout routine.
Building muscles requires working out, and during strength training, muscle tissues are broken down. The body then undergoes muscle protein synthesis or the process of creating protein to repair damaged tissues. It is during the recovery phase that the tissues rebuild and grow stronger and bigger.
This is where the importance of protein comes in. The body cannot just create new muscle tissues out of nothing - it should have the essential nutrients in order for this to happen. This means that no matter how hard your child trains, if they aren't taking in adequate nutrition (especially protein), then their efforts might just be in vain.
How Important Is Protein For Strength Gains?
If young athletes are engaged in endurance and strength training, then they require much more protein than non-active individuals. Strength training often requires weight training to increase muscle mass and strength.
After weight training sessions, the formation of proteins by the body is increased to 50% for the next 4 hours after engaging in heavy resistance training and to 109% after 24 hours of training. However, the muscles will remain in a state of breakdown until sufficient amino acids are consumed.
This means that strength training athletes would require more protein if they are doing moderate to high-intensity exercises. The next few hours after rigorous training is crucial for young athletes if they're looking to build muscles.
It's a good thing there are protein supplements they can carry with them on the go so they can consume the protein their body needs when needed.
What Happens If You Strength Train And Don't Eat Enough Protein?
By now, you must be thinking, "what happens if you lift weights but don't eat enough protein?" The answer is simple - your child will get the opposite of what they are aiming for. Strength training without adequate nutrition (especially protein) can lead to the loss of muscle tissue.
Hence, if your kid is looking to bulk up or get toned, it is necessary for them to follow a high-quality diet to meet their body's demands. Without enough protein in the body, they might feel "weaker," and their muscles might ache more than usual after high-intensity training.
To ensure that your child is getting enough protein to meet their athletic body's needs, you can give them protein supplements that are naturally sourced and are free from transfat and sugar. Truly Grass-Fed whey protein aims to offer your young athlete all the essential amino acids their body needs for recovery.
What Should A Young Athlete Be Eating?
Here are some of the high-quality and protein-rich foods young athletes should consume:
- Lean beef
- Greek yogurt
- Brown rice
Every young athlete should also stay dehydrated, so they can function well, so make sure that they are drinking lots of water and electrolytes, especially if they are engaged in high-intensity workouts.
For your young athlete who has a sweet tooth, you can try out this Chickpea Cookie Dough Energy Bites recipe! This cookie recipe is sugar-free and perfect on the go.
What Foods Should Athletes Avoid?
Aside from knowing what kinds of food a young athlete should consume, it is also essential to know the food they should avoid. This includes:
- Fried and processed food
- Added sugars in processed foods
WHEY To Go!
Eating a high-protein diet is just as important as exercising and training consistently. As the parent of an active youth athlete, we know that you want your child to excel in all aspects of life, and this includes having healthy overall well-being.
On your kid's next training schedule, don't forget to pack naturally-sourced whey protein supplement. There are various flavors available including chocolate, peanut butter cup, mocha, strawberry, cookies and cream, vanilla, and more!