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October 27, 2017 - TCO

Easy-to-digest, helpful tips for sports nutrition

If you’re investing money in training, coaches, gear and competition, it’s essential that you also look at how you’re fueling your body.

Sport-specific nutrition habits can help you as an athlete/active individual maximize your power and endurance as well as your overall health and performance. Nutrition demands vary with experience and age, so here are some helpful tips for each group:

Youth athletes: This age is all about practicing color variety and teaching good habits for the future. Different-colored fruits and vegetables provide different amounts of vitamins and minerals, so eating a different color of the rainbow each day of the week is a fun challenge to focus on!

Early competitive athletes: Youth athletes advancing beyond recreational play are ready to take nutrition to the next level. Now the emphasis is on reducing junk and opting for healthy after-school snacks. Swapping out the Cheez-Its for upgraded snack choices such as pretzels with grapes, string cheese and almonds, bananas and peanut butter or cucumber ham discs are all smarter choices to fuel the advanced youth.

High school competition: A well-balanced breakfast and enough healthy calories tend to lack at this age. Understanding the role of protein, carbohydrates and a healthy fat to start the day is beneficial for these athletes as well as knowing the consequences of poor performance if they go into practice under-fueled. Eggs with avocado toast, Greek yogurt with granola and oatmeal with a berry walnut topping are a few delicious and balanced options.

Active adults: By this point, this age group should be focusing on nutrient-dense foods that help with optimal performance, efficient recovery, decreasing inflammation and reducing risk of disease. Oatmeal, salmon, blueberries and spinach are loaded with antioxidants and nutrient-rich components to perform at the top of their level.

Collegiate and pro: This is a time where focusing on nutrition will provide the competitive advantage over opponents. Implementing a detailed nutrition plan specific to your individualized needs will enhance all aspects of performance. Nutrient timing, fuel-specific training demands, protein to carb recovery ratio and specific supplementation are all areas to address for improving performance at this age group.

Nutrition solutions

Working with a registered dietitian specializing in sports performance can help you cater your nutrition plan to your sport, training schedule and performance goals. TCO offers nutrition solutions at its Burnsville and Eden Prairie locations that are customized to improve your sports performance, energy, bone health, weight and overall physical well-being. The experienced dietitians take a scientifically proven approach that complement TCO’s innovative physical therapy services. To learn more, check out the Sports Performance page on the TCO website or email SpecialtyPrograms@TCOmn.com.