For some kids, going back to school means the chance to see old friends, meet new teachers, and learn new things. For others, it means the unwelcome return of alarm clocks and homework. For student athletes, back-to-school season also means stressful tryouts and the period of intense training that follows, sometimes known as “hell week.” If you have a kid who’s playing a sport this fall, one way you can support your favorite jock is to make sure they’re as well-nourished as possible with a diet and exercise plan to perform their best and recover from fatigue.
Student Athletes Have Special Nutrition Needs
Student athletes expend a lot more energy than their more sedentary peers. That means they require more nutrition to fuel them on the field and help them recover off it. They also need to fit eating into a hectic schedule, since there’s typically not much time between when the school bell rings and practice begins, and because away games can mean eating after the rest of the family has already shared a meal. We can’t forget to mention the importance of post workout food to allow athletes to recharge and recover. So, in a nutshell, student athletes need more nutrient-dense foods, but they have less time to eat them.
Unfortunately, being pressed for time can result in snacking on unhealthy choices like chips, candy bars, and cookies, or grabbing fast food with the team. (Even things that pass for healthy snacks, like granola bars and fruit juice, are full of sugar and almost as bad as junk food.)
Healthy Nutrition for Athletes
- Stack up on healthy snacks. As a parent, you can reduce those trips to the school vending machine by making sure there’s a ready supply of healthy snacks in your child’s locker. That could be their favorite fruit, pre-cut carrot and celery sticks, hummus and pita bread strips, cherry tomatoes and cheese squares, hard-boiled eggs, or Greek yogurt.
- Save a serving. If your child will be eating after the rest of the family, don’t put everything away in separate containers. Make your child their own ready-to-eat plate wrapped in foil, or better yet, a little bento box. Then all they have to do is pop it into the microwave for a quick, healthy meal. (Making things easy is a powerful motivator for healthy eating.)
- Fill the gap. Juice Plus+ gives parents another way to provide young athletes the nutrition they need but may not get from their diets and exercise plans. Complete nutrition bars and shake mixes make convenient, protein and fiber-filled snacks that are perfect for busy kids to eat before or after practice. And while there’s no substitute for eating fruits, veggies, and other whole foods, taking Juice Plus+ Fruit, Vegetable, Berry, and Omega blend capsules or chewables can fill some of the nutritional gaps in your kids’ diets. Parents of college athletes can give their kids an edge by including capsules, chewables, bars, or shake mixes in their next care package.
One Stop Shopping for All Parts of the Body
Dr. Paul Stricker of the Scripps Clinic in San Diego explains the relationship between athletic performance and nutrition in this video. One important take away is that athletes don’t necessarily need a lot of different supplements for the different parts of their bodies. Increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables and taking Juice Plus+ is what he calls “one stop shopping” for good health and optimal athletic performance.
Juice Plus+ Clinical Research
Clinical research has shown Juice Plus+ can help student athletes in numerous ways:
- Juice Plus+ supports healthy blood flow, even after a high-fat meal.i
- Juice Plus+ provides antioxidants, a special concern for athletes because intense exercise can temporarily raise oxidative stress.ii,iii,iv
- Juice Plus+ helps promote a healthy inflammation response, which is useful for athletes who are putting stress on their muscles and joints.v,vi,vii
Do you have any student athletes at home? What are your tips and tricks for keeping them fueled? How has Juice Plus+ kept your athlete’s diet and exercise plan strong throughout the season?
[i] Plotnick GD, et al. J Amer Coll Cardiol. 2003 May;41(10):1744-1749.
[ii Samman S, et al. J Nutr. 2003 Jul;133(7):2188-93.
[iii] Houston MC, et el. Evid Based Complement Altern Med. 2007 Dec;4(4):455-62.
[iv] Bamonti F, et al. J Am Coll Nutr. 2013;32(1):18-25.
[v] Jin Y, et al. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010 Oct;54(10):1506-14.
[vi] Lamprect M, et al. Br J Nutr. 2013 Nov 14;110(9):1685-95.
[vii] Williams EJ, et al. Nutrients. 2017 Feb 8;9(2): pii: E116. doi: 10.3390/nu9020116.