With training schedules cut, competitions cancelled, and the majority of time being spent indoors, now is as important as ever to fuel our bodies in the right way. Not only is this important to make sure we’re fit and ready to go when training gets back to normal, but most crucially, to stay healthy.
Although there’s no particular food we can eat to cure or prevent Covid-19, we can help to support our bodies and immune system through eating a healthy and balanced diet. These 4 simple tips are easy for youth athletes to implement and will help towards staying healthy.
Carbohydrates are the bodies preferred energy source for high intensity exercise. With training sessions being cut down, your body won’t need as much energy from carbohydrates as it usually might. Don’t cut them out completely but reduce your portion sizes to match your training demands. Use the plate below as a guide to how your meals should look.
Increasing the amount of protein that we eat each day will help to prevent muscles from breaking down, which is key to keeping us in shape for when training starts up again. Intake should be spread evenly throughout the day across 3 meals and 2 snacks. Aim for 20-30g per meal and 10-20g in each snack.
Good sources of protein include:
- Red meat
- Milk and flavoured milk
- Beef jerky
Fruit & Veg
Fruit and vegetables are high in a variety of different vitamins and minerals which help to support the immune system. Eating the rainbow to avoid nutrient deficiencies is key to staying healthy. Swap out some of your starchy carbs in meals like pasta and bread for vegetables or try adding fruit to smoothies to get extra portions in.
The human body is made up of around 70% water, so staying hydrated is vital for good health. As well as this, saliva in the mouth also contains antibodies which help to fight off illness and infection. Make sure you drink regularly to stay hydrated and prevent dry mouth. Aim for 2-3L a day and this can be from fruit juices and squash as well as water.