A Guide to Healthy Eating for Active Kids

If you’re kids engage in regular physical activity, as a parent you should be proud. When you have kids that love to play sports and run around outside, you know they have a better chance at a healthier future. What they eat now is so important – they need enough nutrients and calories to support their active lifestyles and help them grow even stronger. Here are some of the things you need to know about healthy eating for your active kids.


Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are incredibly important to help your kids function at the high-activity level they desire. Roughly half of your child’s calories should come from carbohydrates. Make it a point to go for the right kids of carbs, though. Avoid processed or white carbs, like white bread. Stick to whole grains, so make choices like whole wheat bread and pasta. Fruits and vegetables are also excellent, healthy sources of carbs, and they should make up a significant part of their carb intake. Your child should eat a meal based around carbohydrates before physical activity like a game.

Protein

Protein should make up about fifteen percent of your child’s diet. Protein helps muscles grow, and it’s especially important for active kids because it also repairs muscles after exercise. And, it helps stabilize digestion of carbs so the energy they’re provided with lasts longer. Your kids can get protein from meat, poultry, seafood, milk, cheese, eggs, beans, and nuts.

Fats

About thirty percent of your child’s calories should come from fat. Fats are important to help your children grow, but they must be healthy fats. Monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the healthy kids; trans fats are unhealthy and should be avoided. Healthy fats can be found in milk, meat, cheese, and nuts.

Fiber

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate, and it’s especially important for active children to get enough of it. It helps regulate your child’s digestive system, keep arteries clean and clear, and stabilize the digestion of carbohydrates like protein does, too. Fiber can be found in foods like oats, brown rice, and fruit. Your child should be getting about 28 grams of fiber per day, which should be included in their daily consumption of carbohydrates.

Meals

Whenever your child has a particularly active day coming up, it’s a good idea to pay particular attention to the dinner they eat the day before. They should also eat a very healthy breakfast, and snack again before the activity. Meals should include elements from all of the essential elements mentioned above. It’s a good idea to base meals around healthy carbs, and include a protein on the side. Make sure your kids eat a variety of plenty of fruits and vegetables, because they will provide them with essential vitamins and minerals.

Hydration

Finally, make sure your active children drink enough water! Dehydration is a common occurrence in children, and you’ll usually have to remind them to drink water regularly, especially about every fifteen minutes while being active. Limit intake of sports beverages, because they’re high in sugar.

Jennifer Hawkins is a professional restaurant owner and mother who has become an expert on the best ways to ensure your kids eat a healthy diet. She loves to blog and generally covers topics about parenting ideas or how to serve quick and easy dinners.

Photo Credit: Fairplex

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