Kids need energy from food for normal activities, and when practicing hard for competition, nutrition and hydration are even more important. Here are some tips to help your twirler get the foods and fluids they need.
Active kids need nutrient rich foods that are low in added fat and sugar. Limit fast food and processed foods (candy, cookies, chips, soda, etc.), and instead incorporate whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy into their meals. For breakfast, serve whole grain cereals, muffins, or waffles, made or topped with fruit, like bananas, berries, and raisins. For day-to-day meals and snacks on the run, try whole grain bagels, tortilla wraps, lean meat and cheese sandwiches, string cheese, yogurt or cottage cheese, easy to pack fruit, and veggie sticks. For competition days, bring high energy foods like crackers and cheese, PB&J, trail mix, and granola bars.
Proper hydration is essential for athletes, since even slight dehydration can impair performance. Teach your twirler how to recognize dehydration with a quick urine check. Clear and odorless urine indicates good hydration; however, not needing to go or dark yellow, strong smelling urine means it’s time to drink more fluids. Water is always a good, low-cost way to stay hydrated and sufficient for activities lasting less than an hour.
For activities lasting over an hour, like long contest days, diluted 100% fruit juice or sports drinks may help improve fluid intake, and low fat milk may help improve muscle recovery after intense activity (like multiple rounds of dance twirl and strut). At the end of the day, twirlers should eat a healthy meal or snack 15-60 minutes after the event. Include carbohydrates, protein, electrolytes, and fluid for best recovery. Try a lean beef stir fry with veggies and brown rice, or graham crackers and peanut butter with chocolate milk and a banana.
Remember to eat right and drink enough fluids to help twirl your best, everyday and on competition day!
Source: Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics