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KIWI magazine

Nutrition for Young Athletes

Eating and drinking right can help kids do their best on the field and avoid injuries. Jill Castle, registered dietitian and author of Eat Like a Champion: Performance Nutrition for Your Young Athlete (due out next summer), shares three keys to proper sports nutrition:

A big gulp is about an ounce of water, so encourage kids to drink two gulps during practice or game breaks and another two before heading back onto the field.

Calcium and vitamin D help promote strong bones and muscles. The best food sources: fortified dairy products, fish, and leafy greens. (Aim for a serving per meal.) Iron intake is also crucial for athletic performance. Lean meats, beans, and leafy greens are packed with the mineral.

Give kids a well-balanced snack within 45 minutes after exercising. (Greek yogurt topped with fruit is a good choice.) The protein will repair their muscles, and the carbs will help reload glycogen stores that were used up during exercise.

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