5 Tips To Fuel Your Kids This Summer

Extra sports & outdoor activities

Kids have a lot of energy and at this time of year they are most likely participating in more sports and outdoor activities. Sport is not just great for exercise it is also a great way for them to learn discipline, teamwork, and social skills. Many parents come into us worrying about their kids, wondering if they are getting enough fuel from their food to carry them through the long summer days.

Breakfast is king

Breakfast is the first meal of the day and your first chance to get some quality nutrition into your kids. We know it can be hard dragging them out of bed in the morning and leave enough time to eat breakfast. Busy schedules means everyone is rushing around. But a good breakfast will help fuel your kids for the day, and help keep them focused. Don’t underestimate the importance of breakfast. Try focusing on quality sources of protein like, nut butters, eggs and brown toast, yogurt with fruit and wholemeal cereals. Overnight oats are a great option as you can add whatever you like into them and the best thing about them is you can make a weeks worth up dry and then add the milk of your choice the night before and stick it in the fridge. Great for making sure you get your breakfast everyday. Mix it up and add different ingredients to each one. Or try Wendy's Super Healthy Granola, you can make it up in advance and just add it to some natural yogurt.

They will need snacks to keep them going

Snacks need to be quick and easy. They also need to be easy to pack. Good snacks will include a quality source of protein, some carbohydrates and some healthy fats. This might be Greek yogurt with berries and almonds, vegetables with hummus, or a quinoa or couscous salad. Snacks that are mainly carbohydrate-based should be limited to shortly before a practice.

Nutrition for after sports practice

After practice, it is a good idea to have them consume a good source of protein and carbohydrates within 30-60 minutes. Doing this can help your child improve their recovery, and have an easier time getting in all of the nutrients they need during their day. If dinner is within an hour after practice, you might choose to skip this snack and focus on rehydrating. However, if it is going to be more than an hour before they have a chance to eat, ensure your child has some sort of snack: he/she could have a protein shake, an egg salad sandwich, or protein bars with a piece of fruit. Try Clair's Easy Peasy Protein Balls, these can be made up in advance and you can change around the ingredients to your kids taste.


Hydration

Several studies have shown that kids and teens spend most of their day dehydrated. Kids don’t tend to get thirsty when they are dehydrated, so it’s important to ensure they are drinking enough fluids. Key signs of mild dehydration to watch for are darker-coloured urine, strong smelling urine, fatigue, and headaches. It is commonly thought that mild dehydration beyond 2% of a person’s body weight will impair performance. Drinking water throughout the day and during practices that last longer than an hour can help to offset these decreases in performance. First morning urine may be a bit darker, but the remainder of the day should either be clear or pale in color. Sports drinks are heavily marketed to kids and are widely available. While they might taste good, the added sugar is usually not required by most kids. Coconut water is high in electrolytes and is great for dehydration.

Growth phases

Children grow at different rates and it can be tricky to manage. If your child is more hungry than usual for a phase, encourage them to consume foods that are rich in nutrients, as they will help your child’s body to develop healthy and strong tissues. Foods high in iron, calcium and vitamin D are particularly important during this time.