Saturday, July 27, 2013

3 Simple Changes in your Teen Athlete's Eating. (Also tips for Eating with ADD)

I was asked yesterday about a specific "diet" for someone who has A.D.D. and realized the same advice I would give for that, would be good for everyone. So read this, think about your own eating and make the appropriate changes to help yourself be a better athlete.
I'll try to keep it simple since I know you've heard a lot of this before. This past year I've really stepped it up with my nutrition, especially protein intake so here are a few things to think about.

1. Eliminate ingredients you can't even pronounce! 

A lot of research I've seen for reducing ADD symptoms is to get rid of foods you're eating with preservatives, artificial sweeteners and synthetic flavors and colors (dyes). But this goes for EVERYONE. Start reading what you're eating! Look at the ingredients on the back of your food...the first five or so listed should be what your actually eating...NOT hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, PEG 130, blue #5 or whatever else is in there. Yuk. Also, make the switch over to organic local grown foods if you can. The pesticides used on crops and hormones used on animals can really affect you and especially someone with ADD. Some easy switches are: Organic Milk, Chickens (and Eggs) raised without hormones, grass fed beef, Organic Veggies/Fruits if your eating the outside peel of it (carrots, peppers, squash, apples, grapes...etc).

2. Decrease your sugar intake.

I know I know, nobody wants to hear this but the simple fact is that it's true. Sugar makes you feel good for the moment than usually gives you some kind of crash, you will feel slowed down! Not what you want as an elite athlete. Too much sugar over a long period of time leads to: cavities, increase in fat, diabetes, hyperactivity and dehydration. It can be in so many things too, not just candy and junk food but also fruit juices, soda, koolaid and other coffee drinks. I was drinking so much juice (apple, mixed berry) last year thinking it's better than soda...which overall it can be...but still has a lot of sugar in it. Just so you know a regular can of soda has about 8 spoons of sugar in it. Juice has about half that. Also, I mentioned SUGAR CAN DEHYDRATE YOU. Your body produces more urine to try to eliminate the sugar your eating which can result in dehydration.  Water is best. Learn to love it.

3. Take in more Protein!

First of all, what is protein and what foods is it in? 
--To keep it simple, protein is required by the body for the growth, maintenance and repair of all cells! Think about that for a minute. 
***To get your muscles stronger, to help you get through your workout, to help heal when your injured...protein is the key for all athletes.***
--Best protein sources: Lean Meat (chicken, steak, beef, fish), Dairy (milk, eggs, cheese), Beans (think of, Vegetables (highest are Broccoli, Spinach, Asparagus, also Garlic, zucchini, Sweet/regular potato) and Nuts and Seeds (Almonds,cashews, Sunflower and pecans). 
Besides eating all these great foods, one of the easiest ways to get protein is a shake or smoothie. It's best to start your day with protein and make sure your getting some within 30 minutes after a workout. So I start my day with a shake and try to drink CHOCOLATE MILK with a scoop of protein after a workout. Great for recovery! Making your own is easy! There are a tons of recipes online but my favorite I've made is below.

I know it's not always easy to get into these things but I encourage you to try, even small changes for now. Your body will thank you.

Here are some examples:
Chocolate PB Banana Shake:
1/2 cup Chocolate Protein Plus or Chocolate Milk
1/2 Banana
2 ice cubes
2 spoonfuls of Peanut Butter
1 scoop Protein Powder (chocolate or vanilla)
*Optional* 1 handful of spinach - you can barely taste it
Blend and Enjoy! 
Also a good breakfast idea! It's so good, tastes like a chocolate milkshake!

Snack Idea:
Peanut Butter and Jelly or Honey/Banana Sandwich 
Almonds or Sunflower Seeds
Hummus, Pita Chips and Carrots

Meal Ideas:
 Tacos- using ground Turkey 
Steak and Broccoli
Chili (more beans the better or even add quinoa)
Smoked Salmon (open, chop up salmon, discard the skin)
Sweet Potato (microwave 3 1/2 mins) add butter and a spoonful of brown sugar

Hope this Helps. Comment below on your favorite healthy foods for teens.


Denise Lopez, ATC, AT/L