Posts Tagged ‘teens’

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


Sports Nutrition Tips for Cross-Country Runners

Friday, September 25th, 2015


If you’re on the cross-country team you are participating in one of the more popular high school sports in the US. You may find it challenging to meet your nutrition needs as you try to balance a lean physique with adequate fueling and hydration. Here are some tips to help you get your best performance:

Every Day:

  • Eat a generally healthy diet with lean proteins, lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy.
  • Be sure to eat plenty of healthy carbohydrates (fruits, veggies, whole grains) because carbs keep the glycogen level in your muscles high. Glycogen is fuel for your running.
  • Be sure to get enough calories. When you don’t eat enough you are at risk for getting fatigued or injured. Female runners who start missing menstrual periods are likely not eating enough.
  • Maintain good baseline hydration. Drink some water when you get up in the morning and have some milk, juice, or water with each meal and snack. A free and easy way to monitor your hydration is to be sure your urine is a pale yellow color. If it gets darker, drink more!

Before a Practice or a Race:

  • Before practice have a snack with some easy to digest carbohydrate such as pretzels or crackers. Before a race or meet have a meal 1-4 hours before competing. The longer the time between eating and competing, the more you can eat.
  • Pre-game meals should contain lean protein and easy to digest carbs. Avoid greasy, spicy or fried foods. Think turkey sandwich and fruit, not burger and fries.
  • Drink 12-16 ounces of water about 2 hours before a race. Top this off with another 4 to 8 ounces before the race.
  • Before an all day meet try to find out what time your particular group will run. Time your food and water accordingly.

During a Practice or Race:

  • During practice sessions or longer training runs plan on some water or sports drink.
  • During your actual race you should not need any extra fluid or carbs because cross-country runs are completed in less than an hour.

After a Practice or Race:

  • You want to replenish your muscles and replace fluid losses, so you need protein, carbohydrates and fluids. Chocolate milk is considered a good recovery drink – that’s because it has all the nutrients you need for your muscles to recover! (But on a typical practice day you can just go home and eat dinner for your recovery meal!)

One last tip…try everything out during practice so you don’t get surprised on race day. Running can affect your digestive tract, and you don’t want unexpected nausea or diarrhea to derail your results.


Have a great season!


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

Fighting the Freshman Fifteen: 8 Tips

Friday, August 7th, 2015

001Students are heading off to college over the next few weeks. For this week’s post, Erica Carneglia, a dietetics student from Miami University offers her perspective on avoiding the dreaded “Freshman Fifteen” pounds of weight gain. If you are a returning student, use her suggestions to make this year healthier than last! 


  • You still need to eat breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. Just because your mom isn’t there to call you to breakfast, that doesn’t mean you don’t need it! Try to spread your calories out into 3 or more intervals. In order to keep your metabolism going, your body needs an even flow of nutrients. When your metabolism isn’t moving, your body can start to store fat, which is where you can run into problems. 
  • Establish a schedule. Creating a routine in college can be a lot harder than it sounds, especially when your class schedule changes almost every day and you never know when a nap is going to sound like the best idea in the world. That being said, it’s important to make sure you fit all of your meals into your busy day in order to maintain that balanced flow. Having a routine can keep you on track on some of your craziest days!
  • Breakfast always has and always will be the most important meal of the day. You’ve been hearing this for years, and frankly that’s a good thing; you need it in order to stay full throughout the day and prevent major snacking later on. More specifically, skip that bagel or croissant and try to get plenty of protein at breakfast. This will keep you full longer, keep your muscle maintenance at an optimal level, and allow you to start your day alert and ready for whatever the day throws at you. Some Greek yogurt with fruit and granola is a great option, and if you have some extra time grab an egg white omelet from the dining hall with plenty of leafy greens and bright vegetables!
  • Think about what mom would say. Choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Stay away from fried starches, processed meats and pastries! They tend to be higher in saturated fats and sodium, and lower in vitamins and minerals. Lean meats, fruits and vegetables all provide more nutrients for fewer calories, which can sometimes be exactly what you need.
  • No, vending machines are not healthy when no one is looking. Save those quarters for laundry! Try and get healthy options from the dinning hall in the morning to bring to class with you, such as almonds, or anything else that can be stored without refrigeration.
  • Go get that fro-yo with your friends. It’s all about moderation. If you have a sweet tooth and know you’ll down a couple bags of m&m’s if you don’t have any chocolate for a week, have a little bit! If it’s unrealistic for you to completely cut something out, don’t do it. Find similar, healthier options that you can have in moderation and substitute for your favorite sweets.
  • Try out that new spin class. Taking time to workout in college is hard, especially if the gym is on the opposite side of campus. If you’re new to working out on your own, sign up for a few group classes and try out as many as you can before you find one you like. That way, you can make a schedule and attend the classes weekly, keeping you active throughout the week.
  • Skip that midnight pizza delivery to the dorm. Almost everyone gets hungry late at night. What’s important is not that you’re eating, but what you are eating and how much. Try and keep the portions small and nutrients high! Unbuttered popcorn is great, and sometimes some sliced apples with peanut butter will do the trick as well!  

Follow these tips and your skinny jeans will still fit in May!

© 2015 Erica Carneglia








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