Food – eating and sport
You need to provide your body with the right sort of fuel if you are exercising regularly and training for your sport.
What you need to eat
Eat mostly – carbohydrates
Rice, pasta, noodles, bread, fruit, legumes (beans, lentils) and potatoes.
A diet high in carbohydrates (carb-bow-hi-drayts):
Foods like potatoes, fruit, rice and bread are easily digested, give you energy to exercise and help you to recover faster.
|Eat enough – protein
Meat, fish, poultry and dairy products (like cheese, milk and yoghurt).Why?
Eat least – Fat
Choose low-fat products like grilled meat and low fat dairy foods.
Remember to drink lots of water.
Your body needs to replace all the water it loses through sweating during exercise.
When to eat
|2-3 hours before your game or event.
Your meal should be high carbohydrate, low in fat, protein and fibre – for example, cereal with low-fat milk and fruit, pasta, baked potato (stick to low-fat fillings).
Stick to foods you know in case they upset your digestion. Drink water with your meal and before your game.
|During the game
Keep drinking water (every 20 minutes if possible).
If your activity lasts for over 90 minutes, keep up your energy levels with small amounts of food, eg. a sports bar (low-fat), fruit, a sports drink.
If you are competing in several events or games during the day, take plenty of carbohydrate snacks with you to eat between events to keep up your fuel and energy levels.
|After the game/activity
Try to eat some carbohydrates in the first 15 minutes after you finish your exercise, eg. some fruit or a muesli bar.
|Two hours after the game/activity
You need a meal which includes 50-100g of carbohydrates.
Try a baked potato, yoghurt, cereal, thick vegetable soup and wholemeal bread.
Dr. Kim says:
Your body needs good food and water to help you perform at your best.
Make sure you get plenty of sleep too.
Some kids who are really into sport wanted to share with you what they have learned about eating and exercise.
These are some of their comments.
Michael, a long distance runner:
- “I have learnt that eating too much before exercise makes you feel sick.”
- Tom who plays baseball:
“It is best to drink water, as fizzy drinks can make you burp.”
- Mary, a netball player:
“Eating a banana and drinking water between games is a good idea if you are in a carnival and you have to play lots of short games.”
- Jonty who plays hockey:
“I have learnt that it is not a good idea to chew gum if you are wearing a mouth guard.”
- Alexandra, a rower:
“Sugary food can give you a quick burst of energy, but it doesn’t last.”
“Take a snack with you to swimming because you always feel really hungry afterwards.”
What have you learned about food and exercise?