Healthy Diet Plans 3 MIN READ 87 VIEWS November 8, 2021

Athlete Diet for Your Teenager

Written By HealthKart

Athlete diet

Whether you are a young or an adult athlete, a nutritious diet is pivotal for a stellar performance in the arena. While there are new fads emerging every other day, a few food items have continued to remain a staple part of a healthy athlete diet. If your kid is in his teens and is passionate about his athletic performance, it is important to ensure that his dietary requirements are taken care of. For this reason, you need to have an effective teenage athlete meal plan.

The Best Athlete Diet

When it comes to the best foods for an athlete’s performance, one needs to dismiss the belief, “one size fits all”. The nutritional requirements of a teenager might differ depending on the body type, age, height, and allergies(if any). However, there are 7 components overall that can be easily considered as a part of the best diet for athletic performance to make sure that she/he stays at the top of the game. These components are:

  1. Water and other fluids, including coconut water or fresh fruit juices 
  2. Protein for faster muscle repair and growth
  3. Carbohydrates for energy 
  4. Vitamins and essential minerals for the development of the 3 Bs – brain, body, and bones
  5. Fibre for healthy bowel movement 
  6. Healthy fats for growth and development 
  7. Probiotics for a healthy gut 

Is There a Specific Best Diet Plan for Athletes?

There is no magic diet plan for athletes. The carbohydrate and calorie requirements will be directly proportional to the intensity and duration of the teenager’s training. Sometimes, it is impossible to measure out the daily calorie needs and therefore it is advisable to approach a nutritionist who will chart out a comprehensive meal plan.

Food Groups for the Best Athlete Diet Plan 

Out of the 7 groups mentioned above, athletes must focus on the three that are vital for their superior performance. These include:

1. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, over the years, have been given a bad name. But most people don’t realise that complex carbohydrates in multigrain bread, brown rice, wholewheat pasta, and even fruits and vegetables are crucial for an energetic day. This holds true for all, whether one is an athlete or not. One must strictly steer clear of refined carbs such as white bread and white rice, as those are unhealthy, filled with empty calories and make you gain weight. 

If you cut out carbohydrates completely from your system, then not only will you find it difficult to complete your exercise or training due to low fuel but you will also feel an intense surge of withdrawal symptoms from time to time. 

2. Protein

The importance of protein in your daily diet cannot be stressed enough. It proves to be helpful in repairing tissues and growth of muscles. Moreover, it serves as a backup for energy usage by the body in the event all your carbohydrate-induced energy has been exhausted.

For vegetarians, good sources of protein include pulses, legumes, and Indian cottage cheese. Whereas non-vegetarians can satisfy their protein intake from these sources in addition to lean meat such as chicken (devoid of the fatty skin) and seafood like salmon, rohu, tuna, cod, trout, and even prawns. 

3. Water 

Water, amongst all kinds of fluids, is the most vital and a readily available nutrient for athletes as well as fitness enthusiasts. Hydration is of utmost importance, as people engaged in physically exerting activities tend to lose buckets of sweat.

As sweating makes one lose many essential nutrients from the body, having a glass of tender coconut water once a day can compensate for the loss of electrolytes (potassium and magnesium). Additionally, you can give your child water with a squeeze of lemon or orange juice and a sprinkle of sea salt for extra hydration. 

Bottom Line 

A healthy meal plan for a teenage male athlete as well as a female athlete is essential for high performance on the field. Strength training, regular exercise, 8-9 hours of sleep, and eating meals at regular intervals are other minor but equally crucial factors, determining how your child puts his/her best foot forward.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Aarti Nehra

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