By Shelly Guzman, RD, CD
Today is Rally for Girls’ Sports Day, celebrating the importance of girls in sports and the far reaching benefits of athletics participation for girls nationwide!
Participation in sports helps improve self image and decreases a girls’ chances of becoming obese and developing chronic diseases like heart disease, osteoporosis, and breast cancer. Girls who play sports win more than a game! They win healthy bodies and minds among other things. Good nutrition and proper fueling is critical to successful sports performance. Read on for some sport nutrition tips. Eat to win!
Five Nutrition Basics for a Healthy Athlete:
- Eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks everyday
- Combine carbohydrates with protein and fat
- Get color on your plate by adding fruits and veggies
- Eat often throughout the day to stay strong
- Sleep at least 8 hours each night to give your body time to rest and recover
- The best foods to fuel your muscles are carbohydrates
- Carbohydrates include foods like fruit, milk, yogurt, rice, pasta, bread, cereal, and potato
- Protein is important for repairing your muscles but is NOT used as a main energy source by your muscles
- Examples of protein foods are chicken, meat, fish, eggs, peanut butter, tofu, dairy, nuts, and beans and legumes
- Fluid intake is important for excelling in your sport
- To tell if you have had adequate fluids, monitor your urine (it should be pale yellow like lemonade, not dark like apple juice)
- Which is better - water or sports drink?
- Water is great to drink if you are playing or practicing for less than one hour, especially if you have enjoyed a pre-game snack
- If you are playing for more than one hour, or you are low in energy, a sports drink gives you carbohydrates for energy
- After the game, water (plus carbs and a little protein, like fruit and yogurt), juice, chocolate milk, or a sports drink provide you with what your body needs
Need help eating to win? Momentum Nutrition & Fitness is here to help you!
Tell us, what did you win by playing sports? How has the chance to participate in athletics programs affected your life and health?
For more information about Rally for Girls' Sports Day, visit the National Women's Law Center website at http://www.nwlc.org/our-issues/education-%2526-title-ix