If your child plays baseball, it is important that they consume healthy foods to maintain the energy and strength needed to be athletic. Eating to compete is just as important as practice and other physical preparation for game day. Carbohydrates, antioxidant-filled fruits and vegetables, protein, and healthy fluids are four things your child needs in their diet to be healthy and successful when playing baseball.
Carbohydrates are necessary for the energy needed to be a strong, healthy baseball player. This means ditching the candy bars and carb foods with empty calories and consuming carbs like whole-grain bread, whole-grain crackers, pasta, and potatoes. These carbohydrate foods provide energy to help your young athletes excel.
Antioxidant-filled Fruits and Vegetables
Colorful fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, fiber and nutrients to keep baseball players healthy. Foods rich in Vitamin C like oranges and apples help scrapes and scratches heal faster. The high water content of fruits and vegetables also help keep young athletes hydrated. Potassium found in foods like bananas and oranges helps maintain electrolyte balance and prevents muscle cramps. Not only that, fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent cell damage that can lead to certain cancers. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants can have protective effects against cancer and other chronic conditions.
Protein is known for building and repairing muscles. For most young baseball players, getting enough protein is not an issue. Healthy proteins like lean poultry, lean meat and fish are good choices. Plant-based proteins are also options. Plant-based proteins include beans and soy foods. Nuts are high in protein and are great for healthy snacking. Milk is another source of protein and also provides bone-building calcium. Young athletes should balance protein throughout the day, rather than consuming too much at one time, as this can lead to dehydration and loss of calcium.
Baseball is an active sport that results in a lot of sweating that leads to fluid loss. It is important for all athletes to stay hydrated. Hot summer days make it even more important to drink enough healthy fluids before, during and after a game. Drinking enough water can keep a young athlete hydrated. Experts recommend at least 1/2 cup water every 15 minutes. When athletes experience excessive sweating due to exposure to extreme temperatures or strenuous training, sports drinks can restore electrolytes and fluid balance.
You can help your young athlete eat to compete. Encourage them to be ready by selecting healthy foods and healthy hydrating drinks.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics