A: Although string cheese provides a great source of protein and calcium for growing kids, it is not an ideal pre-game/practice snack because it offers no carbohydrate. Our kids store carbohydrate from fruit, vegetables, milk and starches as muscle glycogen. They then use the stored glycogen (from previously ingested carbohydrate) during practices and games to energize their bodies. The more kids exercise, the more they store! By providing our kids with a carbohydrate-rich snack about an hour prior to a game, we top off their muscle glycogen, improving their hydration and energy stores. Protein (from foods like string cheese) is best utilized post game to aid in rapid recovery!
Kim’s Recipe For Success:
– Carbohydrate Rich Snack 1 hour prior to game + at least 2 glasses of water = nutrition for optimal game performance.
– Protein Rich Snack within 1 hour of Completion of Game = nutrition for optimal recovery.
Some Great Pre-Exercise Snacks:
- Yummy yogurt parfait with some granola and berries
- Small serving of oatmeal with raisins
- Classic fruit cup
- Dried fruit
- Glass of milk with a small banana
“Food for Thought”
The size, timing and content of your child’s meal pre and post exercise greatly affects his/her performance and recovery. By reframing food as “fuel” rather than as “good” or “bad”, we can encourage our kids to make the best choices for their active lifestyles.