Sports Nutrition – Tips for the BIG and little athlete

Just starting a new workout routine? Are you curious about what foods to choose for muscle recovery? Check out these tips from FEED!

Adequate recovery nutrition is important for all types of athletes. From kids that are just starting out in physical activities to adults engaging in regular competitive events, all athletes need to incorporate good nutrition to prevent injury and fuel a healthy body.

So how do I do that, you ask? Easy! Incorporating these quick tips will ensure replenishment of muscle glycogen (stored carbohydrates used for energy during exercise), and assist in achieving new tissue growth (building muscle).

Make it quick – Consuming a small meal or snack within the first 30-60 minutes post-exercise will assist in replenishing muscle stores most effectively. This is the time when your body is most sensitive. Check out the following examples of post-exercise snacks*.

Hydrate! – Consuming at least 8-16 oz of fluids before, during, and after a workout is the key athletic performance. Dehydration can impact aerobic exercise performance, but more importantly, dehydration can increase the risk of potentially life threatening heat injury, such as heat stroke, particularly in the summer months. Quick tip: to properly replace fluids, athletes should drink about 16-24 oz fluid for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.

Focus on protein AND carbohydrates – Though it is thought that consuming protein equals muscle development, research shows that protein is not the only nutrient required. Actually, the combination of both protein and carbohydrates is essential in muscle development.

*Suggestions for post-exercise recovery snacks:
• Fat-free Greek yogurt, ½ cup fruit, ¼ cup low-fat granola
• 8 oz low-fat chocolate milk
• 1 slice whole-grain bread (>3g fiber/slice), 1 TBSP natural peanut butter, 1 banana
• Smoothie prepared with 8 oz almond alternative milk beverage (unsweetened), ½ cup Greek yogurt, 2 TBSP PB2 (powdered peanut butter), 1 TBSP honey, 1 frozen banana
• ½ cup old-fashioned oatmeal, prepared with fat-free cow’s milk or almond alternative milk beverage, 2 TBSP dried or ½ cup fresh blueberries, 1 TBSP chia seeds
• 1 TBSP hummus, 10-15 whole grain pretzels, ½ cup sliced bell peppers
• 2 oz sliced turkey breast, 1 slice whole-grain bread, ¼ sliced avocado

It is never too late to get involved in an exercise program as part of a healthy lifestyle. Parental modeling is the key to children learning good habits with diet and exercise. So, what are you waiting for? Go for it!

Questions about your child’s calorie needs during competitive athletic events? Contact FEED at or 847-651-4729.

Lara Field MS, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian and Specialist in Pediatrics with over a decade of clinical and client experience. When she’s not actively working to keep her clients healthy, she’s a busy mother of two active boys and loves testing new recipes in her kitchen. Follow her on Instagram to see her recipe ideas, product suggestions, and see how she manages a healthy lifestyle @larafield.