Protein for Young Athletes

When you have a child, you start to immediately put all their needs before your own. You wonder if you’re giving them enough food, adequate vitamins, keeping them hydrated…

My kids, like many, are busy. They love to be active and are involved in lots of sports. Hockey, swimming, dance, soccer…they absolutely thrive in a team environment and love to learn and develop their skills. What do we do in our downtime? STAY ACTIVE. Honestly, if I have an entire day at home inside with my kids-we all lose our minds! We have to get out. Bike rides, swimming, running around a mall-it doesn’t matter. My kids don’t do well with “hanging out”. *snicker*

hanging out

So as you can imagine, I’m ALWAYS FEEDING MY KIDS. They’re always hungry. Parents often ask me what their kids should be eating before practice, after a game, how much protein they need, what snacks are good? It’s hard enough to feed them on a regular day, but when you add in the exercise, parents get stressed (in a good, caring way, but still stressed).

hiking

Don’t stress out. It’s not as complicated as you think. If your kids are eating and drinking, chances are they’re getting everything they need. Remember-even though they’re really sweaty after hockey practice, they are not playing in the NHL. They do not need a massive plate of spaghetti before a game or a 10oz. steak afterwards to repair their muscles.

hockey players

Look at their food in a week’s time, not a day. This usually eases the stress parents put on themselves. If they miss the mark on a few vitamins on a Monday. I’m sure they’ll make it up by Friday.

Let me break it all down for you.

SPORTS DRINKS ARE UNNECESSARY.
Your kid is probably pretty sweaty when they get off/out of the field/ice/gym. They do not need to replace electrolytes like you think they do. Water is just fine. Plus the added sugar in those drinks will not benefit their growing bodies AT ALL. And if you think the sugar-free ones are fine? They’re not. Full of fake sweeteners and chemical food colourings. Just skip them.
Water, water, water, a banana and a little rest will do just fine. Get a fun reusable water bottle with their favourite character on it or decorate one with stickers so they’ll want to drink more.

If you’re stuck on electrolytes, Flow is a Canadian company that packages their water in a BPA-free package (that looks super cool) and it’s full of essential minerals like zinc, potassium and magnesium. It’s got the electrolytes you’re looking for. Plus they’re all about lowering their carbon footprint which makes us all feel better.

Flow water

EASY ON THE PROTEIN
First, we need to ask ourselves why our bodies need protein. It is essential to growth as it builds, maintains and repairs muscles. Essential. But we (and our kids) don’t need as much as you think! Children they need about half a gram of protein per pound of body weight. So a 60 pound child needs about 30 grams of protein a day. If they have two eggs for breakfast, that’s 12 grams…almost half of their daily needs. Remember that not only meat products contain protein. If your kids are eating a fairly balanced diet, chances are-they’re getting enough. But what do you do if you’re on the road and travelling from rink to gym to swimming pool? SNACKS.

PROPER SNACKS

So I’ve told you to avoid sugar and eat less protein. What do you give your kids? First, fruit. It’s pre-portioned, full of vitamins and minerals and easy to bring along on any trip. They already ate the fruit? I’ve found some awesome packaged treats that are Nutritionnaire-approved so you can give these to your kids guilt-free and know they’re getting adequate nutrition for their growing bodies.

IronKids Nutrition Snack BarsIron Kids Nutrition

These bars are prepackaged goodness! Nut-free, gluten-free and GMO-free, they can easily be packed in a lunch for school as well as a picnic or a long hike in the woods. They contain no artificial flavours, no artificial colours and NO REFINED SUGAR but have a hint of sweetness that kids will love. They also come in four flavours-you can let your kids decide which is their favourite (although I have a feeling it will be the double chocolate). Plus each bar contains 2-3 grams of protein, not too much, but just enough.

Simply Protein Kids BarSimply Protein Kids Bar

YUM! These taste like a chewy and crispy rice squares and come in three different flavours. These bars are also peanut-free, gluten-free and non-GMO. Plus they’re vegan and kosher. These are quick and easy to put in your bag on the go, won’t freeze in the winter and have 4 grams of protein to boot.  Keep your kids fueled and energized without the junk.

Inner J Raw Natural Energy Bars

Don’t forget about the parents!
We always forget about ourselves when we’re on the go! InnerJ energy bars
These bars have a much higher protein count, so if you DO decide to give these to your kids, I would suggest splitting them in half or sprinkling half into some yogurt or cereal for a snack. These bars are also peanut-free, gluten-free and non-GMO, plus they don’t contain soy, egg or dairy. No refined sugar (see a theme?) and are great when you’ve forgotten to eat lunch on your way to pick up the kids.

Pocket Treatspocket treats

You know those times when you’re in the car and the kids all pile in and say: “Mooooooommmm…we’re HUNGRY…” and you reach into your purse and…oh no. Your stash…it’s gone! It’s happens to all of us. These pocket treats are a great solution for a quick bite to tide your kids (and you) over until you can get home or find a grocery store. They’re called the “healthy candy” because they contain 2 grams of protein in each bite as well as superfruits and a touch of olive oil (i.e. healthy fats). Again, peanut-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, and no refined sugar. And they taste delicious!

Now-these are quick and easy packaged items that you can buy to have on hand when you’re in a rush. And trust me, I understand being in a rush. I like to be organized and prepared, but sometimes life just gets in the way. I will always choose fresh fruit first if I can, but these options are pretty great in a pinch.

And lucky you! I’m giving you the chance to win ALL of these amazing and healthy snacks for your little athlete. You have a chance to get ALL THIS:

  • 1 box IronKids Nutrition snack bars, mixed variety (12 bars)
  • 2 kids bar boxes (24 bars)
  • 1 simply protein bar
  • 1 box Inner J energy bars, mixed variety (12 bars)
  • 1 bag pocket treats

All you have to do is follow me on twitter and retweet this:

Contest for Canadians only. Begins NOW (Monday March 14th, 2016) and ends midnight Sunday March 20th, 2016. Good luck!

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2 thoughts on “Protein for Young Athletes

  1. Great suggestions! The boys like to drink “flavoured” water…aka fresh fruit infused water after being in the pool. Good alternative to those high sugar sports drink.

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