Sports and Nutrition-The Winning Connection
Keeping Energy Levels Up

Your Food Strategy

All young athletes need to base their diets on a variety of nutritious foods. MyPyramid is an excellent guide for young athletes to use because it

  • helps you to select a variety of nutritious foods,
  • emphasizes the starchy foods like grains (breads, cereals, rice, pastas) and vegetables you need to build glycogen stores,
  • guides your selection of a lower fat diet, and
  • offers you a variety of foods within each food group so that meals can be built around the foods you like.
Because of their rapid growth and development and higher levels of physical activity, many teen athletes should eat the higher amounts of food recommended from each food group--especially from the grains group (bread, cereal, rice, pasta) and the vegetable group. A 180-pound tight end could easily eat double or triple the minimum amount recommended for grains, and the same holds for vegetables. This athlete may even need more than the maximum servings recommended. That's why large male athletes involved in a vigorous sport like football or soccer will probably have to eat more than the recommended amounts given for the 3,200 calorie level show in MyPyramid Food Intake Patterns. Estimate your calorie needs and look at the amounts of foods from each group that are recommended to meet that need. In no instance should you eat less than the minimum amounts for any food group. You need the minimum to supply a base level of essential nutrients and calories required for good health. Consuming the minimums listed in MyPyramid Food Intake Patterns will supply about 1,600 calories, which is the minimum a sedentary teen girl should take in. Active girls need more. Sedentary teen boys need at least 2,000 calories a day; rigorous physical activity can easily double or triple needed calories, so plan accordingly. Remember to emphasize the grain and vegetable groups to build energy-giving glycogen stores in your body.

Next: Emphasize Starchy Foods



Sports and Nutrition—The Winning Connection

Don't Let Your Diet Let You Down | The Pregame Meal Planner
Keeping Energy Levels Up | Keeping Fluid Levels Up | Ordering Information | Credits