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Teen Athletes, Carbs, and Protein

Today's post was written by Terri Rupkey. Terri is a certified health coach and certified personal trainer, and a weight loss coordinator at Kirby Medical Center. She is pursuing her bachelors in health and wellness management through University of Wisconsin, and completing fieldwork with UI Extension.

Teen Athletes, Carbs, and Protein

The teen body requires energy to perform daily activities and to support body development. Energy comes from the food and drinks we consume in the form of calories. To fuel the extra physical demands of their sport, teen athletes require more energy (calories).

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, active teen boys need 3,000 to 4,000 calories a day. And active teen girls need 2,200 to 3,000 calories a day.

A balanced diet incorporating healthy carbohydrates and proteins helps an athlete perform well and minimizes the risk of injury. Carbs should make up approximately 60% of the teen athlete's diet. Carbohydrates are stored in our muscles as glycogen and used for quick energy. After exercise, we need to replace glycogen. Protein should make up approximately 30% of the teen athlete's diet. Protein builds and repairs muscle.

Some examples of healthy carbohydrates:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Baked potato
  • Beans

Some examples of healthy protein:

  • Lean meats
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat and fat-free dairy products
  • Nuts