Does your budding Olympic athlete come back home famished and exhausted from after-school games or sports practice? It’s only natural; but reaching for the cookie jar isn’t.
Busy kids need the right fuel to perform their best in the classroom, as well as on the field or court. One thing you can do to help your child is to provide foods and fluids for recovery. Young muscles need fuel to replenish their losses after a hard practice session. Try to feed kids within an hour after practice to help them recover, refuel and repair muscles. A mix of carbohydrates and protein is best. Keep snacks in the car so that when you pick your daughter up after soccer practice, she can start the recovery process. Right away Good combinations are:
What milk can do
Is skim milk the new muscle builder? Moveover, protein shakes—skim milk has been found to promote muscle building more than a soya protein drink. In a study, published in the ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’, researchers fed healthy young men a soya-based beverage or skim milk (both the beverages contained the same number of calories and 18g of total protein) after a bout of weightlifting. The soya and the milk proteins both increased blood levels of amino acids (the building blocks of protein), but the milk protein resulted in a greater uptake of amino acids into the muscle and a greater rate of muscle protein synthesis. Conclusion: Milk protein taken after weight training has the potential to help you build muscle more rapidly.
Spotlight on energy bars
Are energy bars a good choice for post-workout recovery? Yes, if they provide carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates help replace muscle glycogen and protein helps repair muscle damage while providing the necessary building blocks for muscle growth. The downside? Don’t use these bars pre-workout because the fibre might cause stomach upsets in those with sensitive tummies.
The writer is a professor of nutrition, College of Health and Human Sciences, Georgia State University, US
©2008/The New York Times