Hydration is important for all children, especially when they are physically active. Appropriate fluid intake supports energy levels, concentration, response time, regulates body temperature, and helps prevent injury (by keeping joints lubricated).
Daily base hydration guidelines from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for children 4-8 years old is 40 oz. of water AND include at least 5 (½ cup) servings of fruits and veggies daily. Note: for children, 1 serving = ½ cup.
Hydration actually begins well before getting on the playing field. Encourage your child to drink up to 16 oz. of water in the 2-3 hours before practice or a game. Then consume 1/2-1 cup 4-8 oz. every 15-20 minutes during exercise.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization have released strong statements against child consumption of energy drinks. Many energy drinks contain LOTS of added sugar. Some have as much as 34 grams- or 8.5 teaspoons- of sugar per 20 oz. bottle!
Did you know we shouldn’t consume more than 25g of added sugar a day?
We get it. Sometimes kids prefer to drink something other than plain water. Here are a few ideas to encourage your child's water intake:
• Choose a refillable water bottle that they like (even let them decorate it) and fill it each day, encouraging frequent sips.
• Infuse water (or freeze ice cubes!) with blueberries, cucumber, basil, mint or watermelon.
• Plan water breaks every 15-20 minutes during sports or active play.
• Include water-filled foods in your child’s diet. Watermelon, strawberries and cantaloupe are over 90% water. Zucchini, celery and tomato are other great water-filled foods.
Safety is important in any contact sport, not just football. Did you know that Soccer, basketball, and baseball are among those responsible for the majority of sports related mouth injuries? Since mouthguards became required in certain sports, the number of mouth injuries has been greatly reduced.
Any sport where your child could come in contact with other players, sports equipment or hard surfaces should require a mouthguard to protect the teeth and gums from injury. This includes solo activities like riding bikes, skateboarding, and rollerblading. Mouthguards also act as a barrier between teeth and cheeks, lowering the risk of soft tissue damage as well.
If you have any questions about how to choose the right mouthguard for your child, just ask us and we’ll be happy to help.
Snacks are an important part of sports. Some kids might even say snacks are THE MOST important part of a game. For many parents, their turn to bring snacks is one more thing on an already overflowing schedule of “to-dos”. Before grabbing “easy” options like chips and energy bars, remember that food is fuel. Team snacks provide energy for the game, nutrients for growth/development and help little bodies recover after a game.
Here are a few Ideas:
• Raw crunchy veggies (baby carrots, snap peas, cucumbers, etc.)
• Fresh whole fruit like oranges or clementines, apples, bananas, pears
• Cheese sticks/string cheese
• Home-made trail mix
• Air-popped Popcorn (try it with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top!)
• Plain milk
• Nuts and sunflower seeds
• Whole grain Granola bars (watch the sugar content on these!)
Many common after-game snacks can cause cavities. Soda pop, juice and sports drinks have very high sugar content. Dried flour products such as cookies, pretzels, goldfish and other crackers tend to stick to the teeth and can lead to cavities. Even dried fruit and fruit snacks/strips can cause as much damage as sticky candies! So be sure to follow good oral hygiene practices to help reduce the risk to those pearly whites!