How to Top up Energy Levels in Active Kids

foods for active kids

As another year rolls in, so does the craziness of after-school sports activities.

After being cooped up in the classroom, this is a chance for our little ones to run off extra energy while building skills and learning about teamwork. Whether it’s a team sport or an individual pursuit, it’s usually always high intensity (do they know any less?) so it should be treated as such.

Coming from a background of high-level sport, I know how much something as simple as correct refuelling before or after exercise can affect our energy levels and recovery.  A post-swim lolly or ice-cream just doesn’t cut it – surprise surprise – but rather a nutritious snack brought from home should be on offer.

Our bodies are most receptive to refuelling within 30 minutes after exercise.
This is when glycogen levels are low and it’s a bit of a window that can make or break how well you’ll recover.

High carbohydrate snacks are your best bet, whether it is for adults or children, while it’s no surprise that sugar-laden biscuits and cakes should be kept to a minimum. Adding protein to help with muscle repair and drinking plenty of water will ensure dehydration is not an issue either. Sports drinks are full of sugar and not recommended for children – they can be as bad as drinking a soft drink! Protein drinks can also be too much for their young systems to handle, so remember to keep it as natural as possible. Water works best.

Some ideas for before or after sport snacks

  Low sugar homemade muesli bars
+ Low-fat fruit smoothies

+  Fruit – cut up oranges, bananas, watermelon, grapes, etc.

+  Crackers, rice cakes – spread with honey or peanut butter

+  Nuts and dried fruit

+  Cheese sticks

+  Toasted vegemite sandwich

Of course, if you’re on your way home for dinner straight after training, you can keep the snack on the smaller side. Try just a piece of fruit to keep them ticking along until dinner is served.

Sometimes we like to reward our kids with an after-activity treat but this soon leads to them expecting a treat EVERY time they do the activity. This can backfire in the long run as we are teaching unhealthy food associations. Not the kind of thing our future Lil’ champions should be made of.

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