When it comes to raising healthy children, encouraging great nutrition is just as vital as physical activity. Participating in athletics is a great way to have youth adopt a healthy lifestyle. Sports like basketball and soccer help kids get active as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Being active has been proven to help children develop heart health, strength and flexibility, among many other health benefits.
The food we eat plays a big role in the health of our body – and mind. No matter what sport or activity your child starts with, their new interest is the perfect way to begin educating them on the importance of proper nutrition. After all, good nutrition is a big part of helping their body perform its best so that they can become the best athlete they can!
When children are young and active, it’s easy to help them fuel their bodies sufficiently. In part because that mid-game snack of orange slices and granola bars are provided for them by parents. But as they get older it gets harder to tell them what to eat and to guide good food choices. For these reasons it’s important to start planting the seeds of good nutrition early in youth.
Wondering exactly how nutrition plays such a significant role in a child’s healthy lifestyle? Are you one who might say, “they’re so active, they can burn off the calories of some poor eating choices”? Read on as we discuss the top reasons why nutrition is vital for optimal athletic performance and overall health.
Youth Nutrition is Vital for 3 main reasons:
Good nutrition helps build strength
Muscle recovery after a good workout is important for strength building. Food is the fuel that helps muscles strengthen and recover properly after any work out. So, feeding the body foods full of good nutrients and vitamins is essential to helping young bodies build strength.
As a young athlete becomes more committed to playing well and improving their game, it is increasingly important that good food choices match physical demands. Foods that contain protein are imperative for their body to efficiently build strength and recover from each active session. Teaching this mindset early helps set youth up for success in any sport.
Good nutrition aides in growth
Nutrients are essential for a child’s body to grow into a strong, healthy one. Teaching youth about good nutrition choices early will help them think about the direct relationship between their body and the food they put into it. As they get older and more serious about sports those building blocks for good nutritional choices are already in place.
Growing bodies especially benefit from being fed properly as their young bodies absorb nutrients fast as they go through periods of rapid growth. The more knowledge your child acquires about healthy eating, and the benefits to their well being and performance, the more they’ll think about their food choices and make better, conscious decisions.
Good nutrition keeps your mind sharp
Most people think good nutrition just feeds our physical body without realizing that it also plays a significant role in brain health, too! Your brain is the centre of your nervous system, so it basically controls your whole body. The foods you eat play a significant role in how well your brain can put your body to work.
Junk food not only contributes to being unfit physically but it diminishes your mental sharpness as well. Eating healthy foods with high nutritional value helps boost alertness, focus and memory. All important factors when playing any sport. When knowledgeable coaches highlight to the importance of eating well before a game, they are thinking not only about the energy boost the body receives, but also the increase in brain strength.
Success for Young Athletes Starts with Nutrition!
As the saying goes: You are what you eat! Proper nutrition is the foundation for any child to grow to be healthy and fit with the best potential for a long and healthy life. Young athletes benefit immensely from learning good nutrition habits when they are young. Once they start participating in more demanding sports, they are already ready to feed their bodies the fuel it needs to see success both on the playing field and off.
Playing active sports like basketball calls on a body to perform its best for extended periods of time. Nutrition plays a vital role in training their body to maintain these active periods and grow from them. Teaching youth the importance of fueling their body with nutrient rich foods is a lesson that spans a lifetime, and one that is best started early. The easiest way to ensure a child follows good nutrition guidelines is to teach it as a lifestyle choice starting from a young age. Sports are a big part of a healthy lifestyle, and good nutrition is the natural and perfect compliment to them!
At IBSA Basketball we encourage our student athletes to take care of themselves as they work towards elite performance and more importantly, to set a foundation for a lifetime of great health! If you’re in the Greater Toronto, Hamilton, Niagara or Kitchenter-Waterloo areas – find training sessions near you!