Healthy Eating & Feeding Your Child Athlete: Follow These Diet Rules To Help Your Sporty Kids In Their Training

Nutrition is crucial to developing and maintaining a healthy body. For many individuals who are into sports, having a conscientious diet plan and regular feeding habits are big parts of the training as this is what fuels the body.

For children who are budding athletes, instilling good diet early on is necessary as they need to learn how this matters to their goals. Dietician Dr. Heather R. Mangieri, who wrote the book, "Fueling Your Athletes," offers some practical diet rules that families can apply to help the child athlete.

Adults should set an example for their children when it comes to eating healthy. The nutrition expert believes that parents cannot expect their children to eat vegetables if they don't eat these themselves. Healthy eating should be a family commitment. If one child is struggling with their diet or weight, everyone in the family must work together. The child who needs guidance when it comes to eating healthy shouldn't be singled out as doing so will only affect self-esteem.

Parents must ensure that their kids have access to healthier food choices at home. If the cupboards and fridge are filled with nutritious items, , then they will be more inclined to eat healthy instead of grabbing chips, sweets and other convenient foods with empty calories. However, it would also be fine to let the kids indulge in cravings from time to time. "If they really want ice cream, drive to the store and buy a small cone," suggested Mangieri in her book.

If the kids did well on something, food must never be used as the reward as they could associate some food as better than others. They need to have a healthy perception about food, even if some of these are not tasty. At meal times, parents must also apply a no gadgets, no television policy so that the children can pay proper attention to what they eat.

Child athletes have high energy demands, per Eat Right. If they understand how healthy eating actually benefits their body, then they are well on their way to becoming more energized to endure physical athletic training.  

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