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lincoln nh nutrition athleteSpecial thanks to the Chiropractic Sports Institute for this article!

It seems in America that what is deemed perfect by magazines and the media is a thin and waif look. It is this false image that plagues the innocent mind and drives us to put our bodies in danger for the “perfect look”. As an athlete, we can’t use the scale as a guide just as we can not judge or compare what goes into our body with non-athletes.

It has been estimated that the amount of energy expended by a typical athlete can be as much as 5000 to 6000 calories per day. Teenagers involved in athletics require proper eating (fuel consumption) to perform at their optimum. The teen athlete needs to eat enough health food to accommodate the maturation process. If not enough of the right foods are consumed, the athlete will impair their growth and strength potential. The athlete will also notice that their energy reserves will be deprived for that extra effort in the final minutes of “game day”.

In general, you should consume enough calories (measurement of energy when food is converted) to maintain your weight through your sports season. Most of the calories eaten should come from a carbohydrate source (such as starches, pasta, rice, fruits and fresh vegetables). A moderate amount of protein is necessary (like meat, chicken, fish, cheeses, and dried beans) should be consumed. Though you should keep fat intake low, fat serves some very important roles. Fat serves as a carrier for the fat-soluble vitamins A.D.E. and K. It is also an important part of all cell membranes, it is the preferential energy source for all heart muscle. Other roles the fat cell is protection of vital organs, nerves and they are excellent energy sources for skeletal muscles in endurance events, states Lisa Kimona RD, Kaiser Permanente Hospital.

For those of you who are concerned about how much you eat,
this is an example of a 2400 calorie diet.

FOOD GROUP SERVINGS PER DAY FOOD GROUP SERVINGS PER DAY

 

A sizable amount of food? If you’re an athlete, NO!

This was an example of a diet consisting of only 2400 calories, well below the 5000 or 6000 calories teenagers are capable of expending. One important fact to remember is that when participating in sports, your caloric intake must match your caloric expenditures. When in doubt, don’t judge yourself off of a magazine cover. Ask what you want your body to do and provide the fuel necessary to complete the task. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact your health care provider or nutrition counselor.