Archive for the ‘Nutrition News for Teens’ Category

3 Fun New Approaches for Hydration

Friday, September 16th, 2016


Good hydration is a key part of every athlete’s training and competition plan. But even something as basic as hydration can get a contemporary tweak! Here are three new ideas I came across this week:

Tracking Teen Water Intake - At Greater Atlanta Christian School in Georgia, the Spartans Strength Program has developed a metrics program that started out with a focus on hydration. They set a hydration goal for each athlete based on 0.5 ounces of water per pound of body weight plus an additional 18-24 ounces/day for athletes in-season, training more than 2 hours/day, or who are heavy sweaters. This total was then divided into a set number of 16 ounce water bottles. Student athletes charted how many water bottles they consumed each day and compared their intake to the goal. Initial results showed an average of only 3.25 bottles per day. By the third month of the program, the average was up to 7.75 bottles per day, which met or exceeded the recommendation for most athletes. This simple method of measuring by counting the number of water bottles consumed led to improved hydration and the athletes reported feeling better.

Alternative Sports Drink – For athletes who are active for more than an hour, electrolyte replacement may be indicated, but not everyone likes to use commercial sports drinks or gels. This month’s Prevention magazine featured a recipe for a homemade sports drink created by Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, an internationally recognized expert in integrative medicine. For her Coconut-Citrus Rehydrating Drink she uses coconut water, which is high in potassium, as the base for her drink. For 2 cups of coconut water she adds the juice of one lemon, lime or orange, 1/8 tsp. salt, and 1-2 tbsp. natural sweetener such as honey. Sounds refreshingly delicious!

Science Fiction Meets Hydration – At La Jolla Country Day School in San Diego, students experimented with using drones for hydration delivery. Students in the Design, Thinking, Engineering, and Innovation class were looking for a solution for athletes who don’t have enough time between plays to run off the field to get a drink. The “Hydrone” consists of a drone + a water bottle + a dangling hose with a flow control clip. Future versions are expected to be able to serve more than one athlete. And the students who developed this are even working on an automated system so that a thirsty athlete can call the drone as needed! I can’t wait to see the future of this clever idea!

What are your best hydration ideas? Share them on Facebook.

© 2016 Kathleen Searles, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN

Fueling Your Soccer Match

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

040Did you know that the average soccer player covers 5-7 miles during a game? This is definitely a sport with high energy expenditure! That means that you should do some planning around food and fluids. Fueling properly and staying hydrated will help you play well through the end of the game.

About 1-4 hours before your game you should have a meal that includes plenty of carbohydrates. Foods like pasta, fruit, cereal, potatoes, rice and vegetables are usually well digested and can top off your glycogen stores. (Glycogen is the fuel that your muscles use. You will really call on your glycogen stores as you get into the later minutes of the game.) You can also help your performance by “pre­-hydrating” – going into the game well hydrated. Drink 12-16 ounces of water a couple of hours pre-game, with another 4-8 ounces about 15 minutes before the start.

During the game you can consistently play hard by keeping up your fluid intake and getting some carbohydrate. Sports drinks can be very helpful here, because they are designed to provide both. (Sports drinks also provide electrolytes, particularly sodium, which your body loses when you sweat.) Try for about 4 ounces (4 gulps) every 15 minutes. If you can’t drink during the game, you will want to be sure to get your fluids during the half time break. If you prefer to drink plain water, try eating something like a few pretzels to give you carbohydrate and some sodium.

Practice your fueling and hydration when you are practicing your skills. That way you can learn what works best for you. Food, fluids, fun…have a great season!

© 2015 Kathleen Searles, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN


Teen Athletes: Food vs. Supplements

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Football fall2014 013Did you know that up to 74% of high school athletes use some type of supplement? That’s what a survey of 25,000 male and female athletes found. This study, conducted in Louisiana, found teens using the following supplements:

  • 71% protein shakes
  • 38% multivitamins
  • 18% nitric oxide boosters
  • 16% amino acids
  • 16% weight gain products
  • 10% weight loss products
  • 8% creatine
  • 5% anabolic steroids
  • 4% human growth hormone

Why are teens turning to supplements? Teens turn to supplements when they want to improve their strength, muscle mass, athletic performance, energy level or physique/appearance. Poor food choices may play a role, as teens try to make up for haphazard meal schedules and reliance on fast foods.

Skipping breakfast is probably the number one worst food habit for teen athletes. Teens are also tempted to skip meals or not eat much during the day because they are busy and don’t get enough breaks to eat. This leads to over-eating in the evening. Tavis Piattoly, MS, RD, LDN is a New Orleans based sports nutritionist who works with college and pro athletes. He says that big meals and snacks at night combined with inadequate sleep contribute to fat gain and a poor body composition. Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD, the internationally recognized sports dietitian from Boston, recommends that athletes “fuel by day,” eating their calories when they are needed for activity.

Here are some tips for helping teens in your family:

  • Keep “grab and go” breakfast foods on hand. Examples include bagels, yogurt, fruits, hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter sandwiches, granola bars and individual boxes of cereal
  • Pack snacks for school breaks and for before and/or after sports practices or games. Try raisins, graham crackers with peanut butter, granola bars, peanut butter crackers, individual fruit cups, fresh fruit, sandwiches, yogurt tubes, milk in “juice box” packaging, or string cheeses.
  • Help teens to plan dinners that provide lean protein and plenty of vegetables. The plate method is a simple meal planning tool that teens can use at home or when they are away.

© 2015 Kathleen Searles, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN

Stay Active in Your Off-Season

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Do you play a sport and have trouble with gaining weight during your off-season? You are not alone! One key to weight control in the off season is to keep active. Use your off seasons to enjoy activities like riding your bike, hiking in local nature areas, swimming, jumping rope, taking a dance or yoga class, walking to some of your activities and errands, or doing the Wii fitness routines. The summer is great for being outdoors. You don’t need a fancy routine – just try to have fun being active! Teens should get at least one hour of physical activity every day according to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the US Department of Health and Human Services.