Sport Nutrition and Young Athletes
With summer coming to a close, this commonly finds people craving routine. Summer is a fabulous time for cold treats and less structure around mealtimes (wiener roasts at any time of day, road-side lunches, and last-minute-what-do-we-BBQ dinners). With school and sport activities set to start, there’s a real desire to get our food situation back into a routine – and I’m here to help. Let’s dive into sport nutrition.
Dietitians specializing in sport nutrition are required to combine multiple knowledge and skill areas to support growing athletes. This includes clinical nutrition (i.e., medical history, prescription and non-prescription medications, blood work, growth history, food symptoms, etc.), nutritional science (i.e., metabolism, micronutrient, macronutrients, food science), and exercise physiology (i.e., how metabolism is affected by exercise). No matter the level of competition, recreational to high performance, I’m passionate about working with young athletes to develop nutrition habits. Not only to support their sport performance but also encourage healthy growth and development.
Young athletes engage in sport for a variety of reasons: socialization, mental well-being, competition, physical activity, and fun! I think sport can be an excellent platform for young athletes to begin to get curious about food and motivated to fuel their bodies with quality foods.
Have you wondered what a sport dietitian can do for your young athlete? Here are some ways I can help:
- Do you know your child/teen isn’t getting enough energy (calories), carbs, protein, and fat to support their training but are unsure where to start?
- Never mind food, does your child/teen get enough fluids throughout the day, especially on game day or heavy training days?
- Is your young athlete disinterested in grocery shopping/food-prep/cooking and missing the link between food and performance?
- Is your young athlete consistently injured/ill throughout his/her competitive season?
- Maybe you have a picky eater, or do food intolerances/allergies make meal planning and snacking difficult in your household?
- Do you have concerns about your young athlete’s growth and development?
The recent slow-down brought to us by the global pandemic has demanded that we all press “pause”. Depending on the sport, things may have continued seamlessly or come to a complete halt. Or perhaps you’ve landed somewhere in the middle and you’re making less trips to the rink and spending less time commuting. With sport conditioning and training occurring less frequently, now is a great time to seek professional support to help your young athlete reach his/her goals.
Heather is passionate about working with individuals to find the perfect plan to improve health and perform at their best. Originally from Regina, Heather has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master of Science from the University of Otago (New Zealand). In New Zealand, Heather was a private practice dietitian, consulting for the Otago Rugby Union and the Otago ITM Cup rugby team. In her role she was responsible for one-on-one nutrition assessment, body composition analysis, group education sessions, cooking classes, and menu-planning for travelling teams. Upon returning to Canada in 2014, she has worked with a variety of sporting groups including soccer, football, basketball, volleyball, and hockey. She’s located at Warman Physiotherapy & Wellness, and offers in-person and virtual services on Wednesday afternoons.