Traveling to a soccer tournament can be a very exciting opportunity for your young player. Every year, about 25 million kids around the world play soccer and for many of those children, soccer becomes more than an after-school activity. It becomes a passion.
No matter how enthusiastic your child is about participating in a tournament, you need to ensure that they eat and drink the best things possible at the right times. Consult this nutrition checklist the next time your young soccer enthusiast is getting ready to jet off to a soccer tournament.
- Always have breakfast. The simple act of eating breakfast can get the body ready for the day. Encourage your child to eat protein and whole grain carbohydrates to get them in shape for action. If your young athlete has a game first thing in the morning, give them something a little smaller, like yogurt and granola.
- Have a post-game snack ready. You can help protect your child against injury by ensuring that they refuel between games. You’ll want to again focus on protein and carbohydrates. Liquid nutrition, such as chocolate milk or protein shakes, is also a great option for young athletes after a high-energy game.
- Don’t forget about fiber. While you may be focused on getting your child enough carbs to keep up their energy, eating too much refined white sugar can cause constipation. Be sure to include enough fiber in their diet to get their digestive track moving, but not too much that they have the opposite problem.
- Pack simple snacks. When your young one is in a soccer tournament, they’re going to constantly be on the move. You’ll want to make sure that they have snacks they can quickly eat so that they get back in the game in no time. A simple snack like trail mix is the perfect thing for your child to munch on during the tournament.
- Drink plenty of water. Proper hydration is key to a healthy and successful soccer game. Just 2% dehydration can impair a player’s performance. Remember that your child should drink more than they usually would to make up for the fluids they are sweating out.
A good rule of thumb for tournament nutrition is to stick to what you know works best. Avoid trying anything new on the big day in case your child has a bad reaction to the food or drink. Try out these tips a week or two before the tournament and then see how your child’s performance improves.