Lockdown Nutrition - The Importance of Food Groups for Youth Athletes

Lockdown Nutrition - The Importance of Food Groups for Youth Athletes

Eating a balanced diet is crucial to keeping us fit and healthy and this is even more important during lockdown. But good nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated. Eat a mix of different foods from the 5 food groups below to make sure your body is getting what it needs to stay in top shape during lockdown and getting you ready to get back into training when the seasons start back up.

Enjoy food from each of the five food groups and you’ll be getting a fantastic mix of the best nutrients and vitamins to see you through Lockdown. 

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide the body with glycogen, which is the energy it uses for lots of things, especially exercise. Even if we’re exercising less, they’re still essential for our body. Choose nutrient dense carbs and think about your portion sizes with meals, eating slightly bigger portions on days you train from home.

Great sources of carbs include:

  • Grains such as bread, rice and cereals
  • Pasta and noodles
  • Starchy veg like potatoes and corn
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables

 

Protein

Protein is the building block for almost everything in your body, not just muscles! So just because you’re training less doesn’t mean you need to eat less. Eat a variety of different proteins and spread your intake throughout the day. Choose high protein snacks to keep you feeling fuller for longer, especially if you’re snacking a lot in lockdown!

Great sources of protein include:

  • Meat, poultry and fish
  • Dairy like milk, yoghurt and cheeses
  • Eggs
  • Legumes such as beans, chickpeas and lentils
  • Tofu and meat alternatives like Quorn
  • Soy

 

Fats

Fats are another essential source of fuel for the body and are the most energy dense of the macronutrients. They’re a vital part of the diet for everyone, especially growing teens and children. Eating too much saturated fat has been associated with increased cholesterol levels, so limit your intake of these sources. Instead, preference should be given to the unsaturated kinds, including two portions of oily fish per week.

Great sources of unsaturated fats include:

  • Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines
  • Nuts, seeds and nut butters
  • Avocados
  • Oils such as olive, peanut and sunflower,

Good sources of saturated fat include:

  • Dairy such as milk, cheese and yoghurt
  • Fattier cuts of meat

Fruit and Vegetables

Fruit and veg, whether they’re fresh, tinned, frozen or dried, are packed full of different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre needed by the body. They’re responsible for 100’s of different processes in the body and not eating enough can lead to deficiency and illness. Make sure you’re getting in your 5-a-day, especially during lock down.

Dairy

Dairy products are packed full of protein, calcium and many other vitamins and minerals. They help to keep our bones healthy and our bodies functioning well. Many people tend to avoid dairy as it also contains saturated fat, but it’s essential to growing children and teens! Eat 3 portions per day to ensure normal growth and development and prevent any deficiencies.

Great sources of dairy include:

  • Milk and flavoured milks
  • Yoghurt
  • Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese

 

If you’re stuck for recipes ideas, or want to learn more about the food groups, take a look through our free resources in the education forum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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