Recipe for Disaster
Welcome to another article that requires its readership to have a minimum of a Sports Science degree to interpret, with a special shout out to all those PHd educated readers who will still struggle to grasp the entire message. Sarcasm is a tough tone to master via a blog, but I hope you gathered that.
There is some truth in all jest, or so they say. The nutrition industry is fantastic at baffling readers and it can be incredibly frustrating to try and decipher what information is relevant, not to mention applying the knowledge in ‘real life’.
YSN's mission is to eradicate undernourishment within youth sports. This is a real issue, with the lucrative prospects being a professional sports person being so high, there has never been more pressure on youth athletes to perform. Combine this (with the fundamental difference that youth athletes face), with academic schedules and hectic social lives, you’ve got a recipe for disaster if their nutrition isn’t up to scratch.
Education is the Key
Youth athletes need to learn what foods are good and bad, what time to eat, how to prepare in advance for rest, competition and training days. We believe that the infinite number of variables within nutrition causes the confusion.
A well balanced diet comprising of roughly enough macronutrients (Carbohydrates, Fats and Protein) and micronutrients (Minerals and Vitamins) is all it really takes. Hydration is the other crucial ingredient essential for life, never mind performance, growth and development.
Benefits of a Balanced Diet for Youth Athlete
- Decrease Fatigue
- Injury Prevention
- Build Immunity to Prevent Illness
- Optimise Sporting and Academic Performance
We could (and probably will) write a blog on all of the aforementioned topics, however, for the purposes of keeping this short and sweet we will classify all of these under the ‘benefits’ for this article.
Balanced diet can mean many things to many people. We would like to say unequivocally that the words ‘balanced diet’ does not mean weight loss, quick fix or another means of convincing readers that this approach is the miracle cure for all your nutrition woes. A balanced diet to us means the healthy switch in mind-set to see food as functional and fun. Yes, you’ll read plenty of body building blogs that will dispel this saying as a cliché. Yet it could not be truer. You are directly influenced physically and mentally by what you eat and drink. For the sake of keeping this simple, imagine fuelling your car with cooking oil and expecting it to work. (Yes, I know some cars might work on cooking oil, but not optimally).
Get the idea?
Attaining a Balanced Diet
Youth athletes have minimum nutritional and energy requirements, these have been categorised by age and gender throughout academic literature. However, we would argue that two 13 year old males could be in completely different phases of biological maturity. Other articles categorise minimum nutritional and energy requirements for youths by height and weight, which go someway in overcoming this issue, these are shared in the links of the 'Read our article for some ideas' sections below.
A very useful article by Laura K Purcell and Canadian Paediatric Society, Paediatric Sports and Exercise Medicine Section notes that a balanced diet comprises of:
45%-65% Carbohydrates. Read our Carbohydrates article for some ideas.
10%-30% Protein. Read our Protein article for some ideas.
25%-35% Fat. Read our Fat article for some ideas.
Hydration is unanimously agreed upon across the vast majority of academic literature on youth athlete nutrition. Keep hydrated before, during and after events! Carry a water bottle with you at all times so you can stay hydrated throughout the day. Read our Hydration article for some more information.
Easier Said than Done
In the often-idealistic worlds of nutrition gurus, attaining a balanced diet is easy. However, in practice our research demonstrates that youth athletes face too many barriers to achieve this every day.
This is why we developed PROTEEN®, the worlds first safe all-in-one nutrition shake for youth athletes. It costs much less than a meal (tackling the financial barrier facing some athletes) at £1.99 per shake, it contains specific mix of macronutrients and micronutrients that ensure youths attain their daily minimums (counteracting their busy schedules and selective eating habits), and all you need to make it is one scoop in your YSN Zen Shaker (free for new customers), so it’s ready to mix with water or milk on the go (overcoming those ‘whoops I forgot to prepare my meal again moments’).
We will also be launching a free app 'YSN Kitchen' providing youth athletes recipes that can be produced for under £5, in less than 5 minutes.
Stay posted for more info on the app.
YSN was founded to serve parents, sporting academies, coaches and active youths, by providing a safe place to learn about, and implement a sports nutrition strategy. We are supporting parents and youth athletes across the globe to refuel right and perform to the best of their ability.