Nutrition is an essential part of a high school football player’s training regimen. For any athlete, getting the proper balance of vitamins and nutrients is a key ingredient in the recipe for a successful season. For football players in particular, eating a balanced diet is important for warding off injury and playing up to full potential in a sport that is extremely physically demanding. Grueling preseason workouts, hours of intense practice sessions per day, and games on the weekends tend to leave little room for error in terms of maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Not only do high school football players have to worry about staying physically fit, but they must also take care of their growing bodies, while simultaneously keeping up good grades in school. The following tips detail the proper nutrition guidelines for high school football players to follow.
Eating a wide variety of foods is the key to covering all of the necessary dietary elements that a high school athlete needs. Sufficient calorie intake, protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and healthy fats make up the building blocks that are required to maximize performance both on the field and off, and though it may sound tired and old, eating a variety of foods will help a growing football player cover all of these bases.
Fruits, vegetables, and grains are a very important part of this nutrition plan, and should make up three quarters of every meal. As the primary source of carbohydrates, these food groups provide high school football players with the energy supply they need to get them through tough practices, with energy to spare to go home and tackle their homework. Since carbohydrates are the primary fuel source that the body depends on, a constant supply is in need to act as a reserve. To do this, eat at least five servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains per day.
Protein is the remaining ¼ of the meal equation. Lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, and fish, as well as nuts and beans are excellent sources of healthy protein. All of these foods provide the body with amino acids, which are used to build a variety of different proteins, including muscle tissue. Protein is also the body’s primary source of iron, which is integral in maintaining energy levels. Timing the intake of protein rich foods is something that high school football players should rely on before big games and exhausting practices, as it will help the body release and store energy properly.
In addition to eating well, football players should pay close attention to their hydration levels. Dehydration is the single largest contributor to fatigue during exercise in high school athletes, so it is extremely important that football players constantly consumer fluids before physical exertion. It is not enough to simply take a sip of water when thirst kicks in, because at that point the body will already be dehydrated. To avoid the detriments associated with dehydration, it is important that football players stick to a strict hydration regimen before, during, and after a game or practice.