There's a lot more to eating for sports than chowing down on carbs or chugging sports drinks. The good news is that eating to reach your peak performance level likely doesn't require a special diet or supplements. It's all about working the right foods into your fitness plan in the right amounts.
Teen athletes have unique nutrition needs. Because athletes work out more than their less-active peers, they generally need extra calories to fuel both their sports performance and growth. Depending upon how active they are, teen athletes may need anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 total calories per day to meet their energy needs.
So what happens if teen athletes don't eat enough? Their bodies are less likely to achieve peak performance and may even break down rather than build up muscles. Athletes who don't take in enough calories won't be as fast and as strong as they could be and may not be able to maintain their weight. And extreme calorie restriction could lead to growth problems and other serious health risks for both girls and guys.
Game Day Eats
Your performance on gameday will depend on the foods you've eaten over the past several days and weeks. But you can boost your performance even more by paying attention to the food you eat on game day. Strive for a gameday diet rich in carbohydrates, moderate protein, and low in fat.
Here are some guidelines on what to eat and when:
Eat a meal 2 to 4 hours before the game or event
: Choose a protein and carbohydrate meal (like a turkey or chicken sandwich, cereal and milk, chicken noodle soup and yogurt, or pasta with tomato sauce).
Eat a snack less than 2 hours before the game:
If you haven't had time to have a pre-game meal, be sure to have a light snack such as low-fiber fruits or vegetables (like plums, melons, cherries, carrots), crackers, a bagel, or low-fat yogurt.