Another Great, healthy snack!  No Bake Energy Bites – Presented by Cierra Runge on the Fitter and Faster Athlete Nutrition and Cooking Habits


1 Cup Oats

5 Tablespoons almond flour

3 Tablespoons chia seeds/flaxseed

¾ Cup nut butter of your choice***

1/3 cup honey or maple syrup

1 Tsp. Vanilla extract

½ Cup add ins (chocolate chips, raisins, cinnamon, chopped nuts, ect.)



1.Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl

2.Mix up your mixture. Should be the consistency of slightly stick dough

a.Too wet, add more almond flour

b.Too dry, add more nut butter

3.Put into the fridge to firm up for about 30 minutes

4.Take out of fridge and roll desired amount into balls


Store in fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

***Nut allergies can substitute but butters for sunflower seed butter

And so, our Nutrition Journey continues:  Pumpkin Chili Goodness submitted by Chris McCreary 


  • 1 lb grass-fed beef (remove if you are vegetarian)
  • 13.5 oz can pumkin puree
  • 13.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 13.5 oz can kidney beans, drained
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tsp chili pwder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp corrianer
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cilantro for topping

The process:

  1. Drizzle olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, and salt. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add beef.  Cook for about 10 minutes, breaking the pieces up with a spatula while cooking
  3. Add all remaining ingredients except for the cilantro. stir to combine.  REduce to simmer and allow to cook for at least thirty minutes and up to one hour.  
  4. Serve with chapped fresh cilantro


Nutrition Journey:   Allergy Friendly, Vegan Oreo Cookies - by Corinne Bendza

Cookie Recipe:
preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Dry Ingredients
1 cup Tigernut flour
2/3 cup cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Wet Ingredients
1 heaping cup pitted dates
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon plant milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

mix dry ingredients until well combined and without lumps. In a mixer or food processor, combine the wet ingredients and pulse until blended smooth. Combine the two mixtures and stir until an even dough is formed. Roll the dough into 1+1/2" balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten the balls down with the bottom of a glass and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Let cool before frosting.

Frosting Recipe:

2 cups flaked coconut
2/3 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup pitted dates
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add the ingredients into a food processor or blender and mix until a smooth paste is formed. Chill mixture 15 minutes before spreading onto one side of a cookie and forming a sandwich with a second cookie.

Let our Nutrition Journey Begin!

Since we are all locked up and are baking and cooking more than ever before, we decided to share some of our favorite recipes with you.  We asked Monika Paris, our managing director, to start our recipe journey.  Please send us feedback via email and please, share your favorite recipes with us.  Send us supporting pictures or even a video clip with clear cooking instructions.  Perhaps we can compose a FISH cookbook?
Check out our Nutrition Corner for the latest recipes and news on nutrition.  

I start my days with a workout.  Depending on my training schedule, I might have a long run, or I might do some hill-repeats or go for a hike with my dog, Ludwig.  I believe in intermittent fasting, and I run on an empty stomach, which makes it even more important to eat a proper breakfast right after my workouts.  One of my go-to breakfast items is protein pancakes providing you with the right combination of protein and carbohydrates speeding up my recovery process.  


  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 c egg white
  • 2 tbsp  flax seed
  • 3/4 c oats
  • 1 scoop protein powder ( I use BioChem)
  • 1/4tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ghee


Mix all ingredients thoroughly until the liquid is absorbed. Place a skillet onto the stove and heat some ghee over medium heat.  Pour one tbsp of mixture one at a time into the skillet. Turn pancakes after about one minute and cook until they are golden brown.  This recipe yields about six pancakes.  

Serve pancakes with your choice of fresh fruit.

Enjoy and send me feedback!




March 2020


Off-Season Nutrition Tips


By Jill Castle, MS, RDN  | Wednesday, April 19, 2017

When the swim season is over, swimmers often wonder if they should change their eating habits. Should they continue to focus on the training diet? Should they eat as frequently as they have been or should they taper eating to reflect a decrease in exercise? Are there foods they can eat to preserve their physique?

When the swimming season ends, eating patterns need to shift to accommodate the decreased demand for energy and nutrients. The goals for eating during the off-season include maintaining a healthy weight, keeping the muscle tone and mass that has been accumulated during the season, and matching nutritional requirements for continued growth and development.

Off-season eating may not be easy for some swimmers, as the habit (and perhaps enjoyment) of eating large portions, pre-training snacks and post-training recovery foods may have become ingrained, making them challenging to reverse.

I like to remind athletes of the difference between a training diet and a regular healthy approach to eating. The training diet not only includes foods that help the athlete meet the demands of exercise and improve performance, it also is a mindset and strategy for getting the most out of the season. The swimmer can think about the off-season diet in this same framework: a focus on nutritious foods that match needs for growth and maximizes health.

One mistake I see young athletes make, in general, is failing to adjust their eating patterns after the season has ended.

I’ve got some quick tips to help swimmers accommodate the changes in training that naturally occur in the off-season phase.

Reduce Calories

It’s no surprise swimmers burn a lot of calories in the pool during the competitive season. As such, the young swimmer especially needs to maintain a calorie intake that covers the demands of swimming and his nutritional requirements for growth and development.

In the teen swimmer, calorie requirements can be as high as 4,000 calories per day (or more), depending on age, gender and training schedule. However, when swim season ends and training tapers off significantly, such a high calorie intake isn’t necessary.

There are a few easy ways to taper caloric intake with a non-dieting approach. One is by reducing the portion size of the hefty pre-training snack. Most growing athletes, even if they aren’t actively training, will need a nutritious afternoon snack to meet daily nutritional requirements and help with appetite management. However, if the swimmer is eating a 4th meal or a large snack to prepare for training, shrinking this to a smaller snack size portion will help reduce overall calories.

Second, if the swimmer isn’t exercising for an hour or more, the post-training snack can be eliminated, as well. No need for a recovery snack if the swimmer doesn’t have anything from which to recover.

Reduce Carbs

High levels of carbohydrate are needed during training because muscles use this nutrient as their primary fuel source. A consistent provision of carbohydrate throughout the day helps prepare muscles for training and reloads them after exercise is over. However, if there is no active training occurring, a focus on a high carb diet isn’t needed.

Instead, aim to make balanced meals using fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole grains. This will allow the swimmer to match her requirements for growth and development and eat nutritiously. A focus on high fiber foods from fruit, vegetables and whole grains will help the swimmer feel fuller after eating, reducing the urge to snack and overeat.

Ironically, for some swimmers the instinct is to indulge in treats and sweets when the training season is over, but this may counteract the ability to maintain a healthy, fit body weight. Watch out for added sugars in the overall diet. Eating candy and other desserts, or drinking sugary beverages can cause the swimmer to go overboard with excessive carbohydrate-based calories.

Maintain Protein Intake

Swimmers want to make sure they still get a good source of protein throughout the day so they maintain the musculature they have developed through training. A good rule of thumb is to include a good source of protein at each meal and most snacks, ensuring protein consumption is spaced evenly throughout the day. Good sources of protein include beef, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, yogurt, nuts and nut butters, and beans, for example.

Jill Castle, MS, RDN is a registered dietitian, childhood nutritionist, and youth sports nutrition expert. She is the author of Eat Like a Champion: Performance Nutrition for Your Young Athlete. Learn more about Jill at, her resources for athletes, and check out her free list of 70 Awesome Pre-Workout Snacks for Kids here. Coming soon: Eat Like a Champion online training for young athletes and their parents.

February 2020

Foods to Give You Energy for Swim Meets

Meet nutrition is critical for swimmers.

Swim meets have you competing in timed events ranging from 50 meters to more than 1,600 meters. In order to beat your competition, it's important to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to produce energy throughout each event. Making the right choices of what and when to eat can give you the edge you need to win.

Nutrition Requirements

A swim meet can have you swimming both sprint and endurance events. Sprinting, in general, relies entirely on the supply of carbohydrates in your body: glucose in your blood and glycogen–stored glucose–in your muscles. Endurance events utilize both carbohydrates and fats for energy. Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, may also be used during very intense sprints or prolonged endurance events. Nutrition during a swim meet should supply your body with carbohydrates and protein to replenish what is lost during exertion, but also not greatly elevate your blood sugar, as this turns off your body's use of fats for energy.

Good Foods

Good foods to pack for a swim meet include light salads with a vinegar-based dressing on the side, sandwiches, pasta, cereal, rice and vegetables, yogurt and fruits. These foods provide you primarily with complex carbohydrates that steadily supply your body with the primary source of energy. They also contain a small amount of protein and fats. These foods can also be eaten in small portions and will keep well throughout the meet.

Foods to Avoid

While they are fine in small quantities, avoid eating too many high-fiber foods. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes. The lettuce in salads contains little fiber, and the soluble fiber in fruits is not as bulky as the insoluble fiber in whole grains. Though these food are healthy, the fiber is not able to be digested by your body, leaving excess food bulk in your intestines. Avoid foods high in fats or large meals as they take a long time to digest and will leave you feeling sluggish. Salty foods may contribute to dehydration if consumed in excess.


Eat whole foods at least 90 minutes before your event to allow them time to digest and, if possible, time to pass through your system. Excess food bulk can prevent you from maintaining proper posture and slow your event times. Replenish spent nutrients quickly after an event using sports drinks, though be careful not to choose one extremely high in sugar or consume them excessively. Aim to eat small meals throughout the meet, saving large meals for the end of day. A large breakfast is acceptable if you do not have any early event; if you do, eat as you would during the meet.

January 2020

10 Powerhouse Foods for the Young Athlete Diet Plan

by Jill Castle, Childhood Nutrition Expert

August 15, 2018

As young athletes grow and get more competitive, the athlete diet plan becomes a central focus. Learn about the best foods for athletes to get the job done. 

Foods for the Athlete Diet Plan

The mystery behind what should be included in your young athlete’s diet is never-ending, partly because miracle foods are constantly surfacing, while other foods fall from grace.

When it comes to the athlete’s diet, it’s important to consider the nutritional requirements for growth and development, as well as for athletic performance.

As a youth sports nutrition expert and author, I see young athletes make mistakes with food choices and eating habits. As a mom who has raised athletes, I also know the struggle of feeding them and encouraging a nutritious diet. 

In this article, I cover some of the unhealthy eating habits among young athletes while diving into some of the best foods for athletes you’ll want to include in your meal plan.

 It’s no mystery that many children and teens miss out on important nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, fiber and potassium.

Skipping breakfast, snacking on nutrient-poor foods, or using weight control measures like diets not only curtail nutrient intake, they can impair athletic performance.

To complicate matters, good nutrition for athletes depends on several other things that aren’t necessarily food-related.

For one, the timing and regularity of eating throughout the day, or the athlete meal plan, helps the athlete cover his appetite and meet his total nutritional requirements.

Secondly, the balance of nutrients, particularly protein and carbohydrate, can be particularly useful for ongoing muscle building and efficient recovery. 

While the best nutrition for athletes involves several details, one thing is certain: food choices matter.

I’m not suggesting you have to be 100% organic or free from unhealthy foods, but child and teenage athletes do need to be well-balanced in nutrition. 

Certain foods are powerhouse additions and help to make a healthy diet for the young athlete.

If you can begin to work some of these foods into the athlete diet plan, you can rest-assured you are incorporating optimal nutrition for training and performance.


10 of the Best Foods for Athletes 

1. Nuts

All nuts are chock-full of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. Use them to top yogurt or cereal, or just grab a handful on the way to practice.

If nut allergies aren’t a concern, slip a small package of peanuts, almonds or cashews into the gym bag for a quick and tasty snack.

2. Seeds

Similar to nuts, seeds are full of fiber, healthy fats, magnesium and vitamin E. Eat them like you would nuts.

They are a great substitute if your athlete is allergic to nuts

3. Ready-to-eat Cereal (cold cereal)

Cereal is fortified with nutrients such as folic acid, iron, calcium, and vitamins A and E, making them a good source of nutrients.

Have it for breakfast, snack, or dinner in a pinch, but beware of choosing cereal with too much sugar.

Cereals with less than 8 or 9 grams of sugar per serving are best.

Want to know what I think are the 17 best cold cereal options for kids? Read this and be sure to download my handy chart!

4. 100% Orange Juice

Increasingly, you can find calcium and vitamin D- fortified OJ, and it’s a good source of folic acid and vitamin C, too.

Don’t guzzle it though! 

Kids aged 7-18 years should keep a cap on juice — no more than one cup (8 ounces) per day, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Orange juice can be a significant source of calories when more than a cup is consumed daily.

5. Beans


Roast them for a crunchy snack, top a salad, layer into a burrito, or throw them in with diced tomatoes for a hearty pasta dish.

6. Cheese

Cheese is a quick and easy snack, especially when packaged in sticks or blocks. Mix cheese into casseroles, pasta and layer it in sandwiches.

Cheese is full of calcium, potassium, and protein.

7. Yogurt

Yogurt is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, potassium and protein. Go for Greek varieties if you are looking for extra protein from whole foods (though most young athletes don’t need large amounts of protein in their diet).

Eat yogurt as part of a meal, a snack, or dessert.

8. Milk or Soy milk

Dairy milk is a natural source of calcium, potassium, and protein, and is fortified with vitamin D. These nutrients are present in all milk with the variation of calorie content based on the amount of fat contained in the milk.

Some teen athletes choose to drink whole milk because they struggle to meet their nutritional and calorie needs during the day, especially when they’re in a growth spurt.

If you’re not sure which milk — whole milk, low fat or skim milk– would be most appropriate for your athlete, I’ve done the research for you and have summarized the pros and cons for you in this article about whole milk

If soy milk is your go-to, make sure it is fortified with calcium and vitamin D and shake the carton so the minerals don’t settle to the bottom.

Many athletes use flavored milk (chocolate milk) after an intense workout to help their muscles recover. There’s plenty of research that suggests this is an effective way to refuel and recover after more than an hour of intensive exercise.

The combination of carbs and protein helps replenish the muscles with energy in the form of glycogen and uses protein to repair muscles.

9. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Dark green leafy veggies like kale, spinach and collard greens offer iron and calcium.

Pair these with foods that are high in vitamin C, such as red peppers, tomatoes or citrus fruit, or serve them with meat to maximize the absorption of iron.

10. Orange Fruits and Vegetables

Loaded with vitamins C, E, A, and potassium, these help your immune system stay healthy.

Healthy athletes stay strong and able to play!

December 2019 Article

Sports Nutrition for Young Athletes: Vital to Victory
By Pamela M. Nisevich, MS, RD, LD
Today’s Dietitian
Vol. 10 No. 3 P. 44

By analyzing their diets and coaching them on the most valuable nutrients, RDs can help their young athletic clients play to the best of their competitive ability.

A young athlete enters an RD’s office and turns in his three-day food record. He’s proud of himself for “improving” his diet, but as the RD reviews his intake, she grows increasingly disturbed. The athlete fuels at breakfast with two Super Donuts; regardless of the touted extra protein, vitamins, and minerals, he’s not off to a good start. The RD is equally unimpressed with his lunch choices: a deli sandwich on white bread with three packets of mayonnaise, a 16-ounce juice, a small bag of potato chips, and a 6-ounce blueberry muffin. Ten minutes before a big game, he downs 12 ounces of Coke and a chocolate chip cookie and, more than three hours after the final whistle, finally recovers with a foot-long cheesesteak and large order of fries.

After reviewing his intake, the RD wonders how to break it to this young man with “improved nutrition” that there is nothing super about donuts, blueberry muffins do not count as a fruit serving, and fries are not a vegetable. But before criticizing him for his precompetition meal of high-fructose corn syrup and fat, she remembers having the same poor eating habits when she was a young athlete, constantly on the run and at the mercy of whatever the school vending machine and cafeteria offered.

Sports Nutrition: Critical to Success
All athletes strive to compete at the top of their game but, unbeknownst to many of them, their performance relies on their nutritional status. Jenna A. Bell-Wilson, PhD, RD, CSSD, who is a certified specialist in sports dietetics in Arlington, Mass., says that young athletes with inadequate diets may have insufficient fuel for workouts, nutrient deficiencies that can lead to illness or fatigue, a decrement in bone growth and maintenance, and may not reach their potential for muscle growth. All of these will be reflected in their performance, regardless of their determination.

Despite the recognition that young athletes need to pay greater attention to their fuel consumption, recent research suggests that many youths struggle with energy balance, experiencing an energy deficit or surplus. We are all too familiar with this energy surplus, known as overweight or obesity—but that crisis is not the focus of this article. The concern is that many young athletes require greater amounts of nutrients but remain uninformed or unconcerned about their nutrition needs or simply feel powerless to improve their nutritional status. RDs can help young athletes overcome these problems.

The number of young athletes in the United States is increasing and estimates are that approximately 30 to 45 million youths aged 6 to 18 participate in some form of athletics.1 These young athletes turn to coaches, parents, teammates, and health professionals for nutrition guidance. RDs, especially those who are certified specialists in sports dietetics, guide athletes to be leaner, stronger, and able to withstand the rigors of training and competition. RDs can offer superior advice because they are more cognizant of research findings and are equipped with clinical and counseling skills to aid in a young athlete’s quest for improvement. By helping athletes improve their diet, RDs can eliminate obstacles to better health and nutrition and thereby help athletes push their limits and reach their full potential.

Nutrition professionals can aid young athletes in their quest for victory by recognizing that children and adolescents generally need more calories and protein per pound of body weight than many adults. It is a well-known fact that children need this extra energy to grow, fully develop, and thrive. Nutrient needs further elevate and reach their peak during adolescence.2 Potential differences in nutrition needs between a typical child or adolescent and an athletic child or adolescent likely exist but are not entirely clear. Limited studies of energy balance in young athletes have been published, and conservative recommendations have been made. But self-reported diet records of young athletes often indicate that intake of energy, carbohydrate, and select micronutrients may be below recommended levels. RDs must be aware that these deficiencies exist and are especially apparent in athletes involved in sports that focus on body composition and appearance.3

Proper Intake of Macronutrients and Micronutrients

Critical Micronutrients
Current research and trends point to deficiencies in calcium, iron, folate, vitamin B6, and zinc for young athletes. The functions, risks of deficiency, and recommendations for each vital micronutrient follow.

Proper intake of calcium is needed to support bone growth, increase bone mass, and aid in nerve impulses and muscle contraction.4 Poor calcium intake can lead to decreased bone mass and consequential increased risk for stress fractures and other bone-related injuries.1 Because a young athlete’s growing bones cannot handle as much stress as an adult’s mature bones, optimum bone health is critical; overuse and overtraining injuries are more apt to occur in a pediatric or adolescent athlete. To ensure proper bone health, keep in mind that the adequate intake of calcium for children aged 9 to 18 is 1,300 milligrams per day.5

While iron is noted for its oxygen-carrying capacity, it is also a major player in the energy metabolism of carbohydrate, protein, and fats. For this reason, young athletes with iron-deficiency anemia may experience performance inhibition ranging from decreased work capacity to extreme fatigue, impaired immune function, and impaired cognitive reasoning. Because iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world, it is imperative that professionals working with young athletes are aware of the athlete’s iron intake.

On the other hand, it is important to note that iron toxicity is the most common cause of poisoning death in young children. If you want to avoid recommending a supplement, you can recommend food items that are high in iron, such as red meat and enriched cereals and grains, coupled with fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C, which aids in iron absorption.

B Vitamins
Both vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and folate are members of the B-complex of vitamins and are critical components of energy metabolism and blood health.4 Both are critical for amino acid metabolism and good sources of each are enriched grain products and assorted animal products. Research differs on whether there are changes in folate and vitamin B6 levels during periods of heavy training. However, the conclusion is usually that exercise does not increase the requirements for these nutrients and the dietary reference intake should be followed.6 In general, a B-complex deficiency can lead to fatigue, muscle soreness, apathy, and loss of cognitive function.

While an extreme zinc deficiency is uncommon in the United States, athletes are at risk due to poor consumption of foods rich in this mineral. Zinc plays a role in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and is critical for wound healing, tissue growth and maintenance, and immune function. Various studies have shown that zinc status directly affects basal metabolic rate, thyroid hormone levels, and protein utilization; thus, zinc is critical to athletes. Dietary protein enhances zinc absorption, and athletes who are most at risk of a deficiency may be vegetarians or those who primarily eat a grain-based diet. With the myriad critical functions to which zinc is linked, consumption of adequate levels of zinc should be stressed.6

Critical Macronutrients
With an increase in energy expenditure comes a subsequent need for an increase in the intake of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Current research and trends point to deficiencies in overall total energy and carbohydrate intake. Also of concern is deficient fluid intake and consequent altered hydration status of young athletes. The functions, risks of deficiency, and recommendations for each vital macronutrient follows.

In athletes, poor carbohydrate intake results in inadequate glycogen stores and premature fatigue, which not only compromises performance but also forces the body to rely on another source for fuel: protein. Glucose from carbohydrate sources is essential to most body functions during exercise. If glucose is not available for use as fuel during physical activity, the body will take from its protein stores for energy via gluconeogenesis. Because carbohydrate is the preferred fuel for athletic performance, approximately 55% of total daily calories should come from carbohydrate. The young athlete has the capacity to store carbohydrate in the form of glycogen, but this capacity is limited, so carbohydrate must be consumed daily. Carbohydrate needs are based on body weight and intensity of activity. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has set the following recommendations for the young athlete:

• 3 to 5 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram for very light intensity training;

• 5 to 8 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram for moderate or heavy training;

• 8 to 9 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram for preevent loading (24 to 48 hours prior); and

• 1.7 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram for postevent refueling (within two to three hours).7

Protein is an essential part of the young athlete’s diet, and the role of protein for youth includes building, maintaining, and repairing muscle and other body tissues.7 It should be noted that an adequate protein intake with inadequate caloric intake prohibits protein balance, even when the recommended daily allowance for protein is consumed.8 Therefore, it is critical that young athletes consume enough calories to maintain body weight.

While adult endurance and strength athletes may need more protein per pound of body weight, additional protein needs for young athletes have not been specifically evaluated. However, the ADA has set the following recommendations:

• Athletes who have just begun a training program require 1 to 1.5 grams per kilogram per day of protein.

• Athletes participating in endurance sports require 1.2 to 1.4 grams per kilogram per day of protein.

• Athletes who restrict calories must be certain to consume adequate protein for muscle building and repair. A minimum of 1.4 grams per kilogram per day is recommended.
• Vegetarian and vegan athletes should be counseled to ensure that adequate intake of protein is consumed from plant sources.

• Consuming an overabundance of protein can lead to dehydration, weight gain, and increased calcium loss. This is critical to monitor as research shows that the population of young athletes is already at risk for calcium deficiency.7

While carbohydrate is often spotlighted as the preferred fuel for sports, there are some bodies of research suggesting that lipid or fat may be the preferred fuel for children. This may be due to the higher rate of fat oxidation in children.9 As a major energy source, fat is essential for light- to moderate-intensity exercise and for endurance exercise. Below are some easy-to-follow guidelines for consumption of fats:

• While a low-fat diet can be followed, it is important that young athletes consume an average of 20% to 30% of calories from fat.

• Like adults, young athletes should aim to significantly lower the amount of saturated and trans fat in their diet. The focus should be on an intake of healthy fat from plant oils and soft margarines made with vegetable oils and on limiting the amounts of fried and processed foods.

Maintaining fluid balance is critical for the young athlete. As rates of youth participation in endurance events climb, legitimate concerns about fluid status have arisen. Aside from the risk of heat-related illness, dehydration is strongly associated with fatigue during exercise. This risk is increased in certain environmental conditions such as high heat and humidity.

Compared with adults, young athletes may be at a higher risk for altered fluid status for several reasons: Children experience greater heat stress and heat accumulation, and they have a greater ratio of surface area to body mass and absorb heat more readily.10 Signs of dehydration in children include dark urine, small urine volume, muscle cramps, reduced sweating, increased heart rate, headaches, and nausea. Specific recommendations for fluid consumption are as follows:

• Child and adolescent athletes should aim to replenish lost hydration stores during and after an event. This can be done by weighing the athlete before and after an event and replacing fluids lost (16 to 24 ounces for every pound lost).7

• For activities lasting less than 60 minutes, select water for hydration.

• For activities lasting more than 60 minutes, select sports beverages for hydration, electrolytes, and energy from carbohydrate. Select a beverage that provides 6% to 8% carbohydrate.

• Lastly, be aware that children do not instinctively drink enough fluids to replace lost stores and thirst does not always indicate when the body is in need of more fluids.

Overcoming Nutritional Obstacles
While young athletes rely on their parents and health professionals for advice, they are extremely susceptible to peer and media influence and the plethora of misinformation that exists in the sports nutrition world.8 As a result, obstacles to improving the nutritional status and consequent performance of the young athlete abound.

Kelly White, MS, RD, LD, a sports nutrition and wellness dietitian in Starkville, Miss., notes that young athletes often struggle with inadequate nutrition-based knowledge, lack of healthy food options, and making the “right” food choices. She suggests that athletes and their parents plan ahead and pack lunches and fueling snacks. Good choices include whole grain granola bars and sandwiches, fresh fruit and vegetables, water, and Gatorade. White suggests that RDs become familiar with the food items offered in school cafeterias and vending machines so athletes will have a better idea of what to select.

Taking into account all the obstacles and elevated nutritional needs that young athletes face, the RD mentioned at the beginning of this article approaches the nutritional status of her young client not with an air of condescension but concern. She knows that he made the right choice by asking her for assistance with his diet and performance. As a nutrition professional, she realizes it is her job to help this young athlete understand that to meet the demands of his sport and the physiological needs of his developing body, it is critical that he not deprive himself of macronutrients and micronutrients. Thus, her first goal is to provide simple tips to improve his day-to-day, game-to-game intake. Her final goal is to impress upon him that it is never to early or too late to make nutrition a top priority.



Great in between meet snacks: 
• Trail Mix – a visit to whole foods, sprouts, sunflower market has bulk selections and you can make your own mixes. Helps with variety! Don’t forget seeds, such as pumpkin seeds!  • Handful of almonds • Whole food bar  • Almond butter and jelly sandwich  • Role of non processed turkey/chicken  • Berries are GREAT! Blueberries are easy to pack and taste yummy!  • Apple/Pears/Kiwi/Mango/grapes • Protein shake  • Baby carrots/sliced jicama • Hummus with vegetables or whole grain crackers • Many kids drink Gatorade for electrolyte repletion. Another suggestion that has less sugar is a product called recharge. Or electro mix packets added to water! 
Foods to avoid in weeks leading up to events or season:  
• Heavy simple carbohydrate foods, such as large quantities of bread, pizza, pasta. Minimize consumption overall, but when eaten, choose rice based pastas, sprouted breads.  • Avoid sugary foods! Avoid High fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids. Be aware of sugary drinks, such as soda, juice that is not 100% fruit.  • Avoid baked goods, such as cookies, cupcakes etc. These are not good snacks and they give a high rush of blood sugar and then bog the body down with digestion, which takes focus and energy away from winning the race!  • Chips are a very popular snack for kids because they are so readily available in vending machines, and snack bars. These provide virtually no nutrition to the body and affect endurance. Good replacements to chips are dried fruits, fruit chips, veggie chips.  • Many of the protein bars on the market are loaded with sugar and processed foods, some examples are cliff bars, power bars. See list above for good alternatives that provide more nutrition. 
Meals that assist athlete performance
Breakfast examples: 
• Oatmeal with berries and walnuts. Can add a small amount of honey or agave syrup.  • Protein smoothies: Plant based protein powder, banana, berries, tbsp. of nut butter and dash of honey. Can mix and match fruits and vegetables. Blend with organic skim milk, soy milk, almond milk (try it!), rice milk or juice.  • Nut based granola (buy or make at health food store to avoid large amounts of added sugar) with almond milk and berries. Can also mix with yogurt (consider alternates to cow based milk yogurts, such as goat yogurt, coconut yogurts. If using dairy based, consider greek yogurt or organic)  • Can add in a scrambled egg or two as a side for additional protein. Better yet, make an omelet with fresh vegetables.  • Avoid sugary cereals, heavy bread/toast/bagel consumption. 
• Most important…..DO NOT SKIP BREAKFAST!!!  If running late, put protein powder in shaker cup, fill with water/juice and drink on the go! Grab an apple, banana and some nuts for protein and eat on the way!
 Lunch examples: 
• Lean meat with sprouted wheat bread, green leafy green (green/red lettuce, romaine, kale, arugula. Avoid iceberg lettuce), vegetables of choice (cucumber, tomato, onion) and some sliced avocado. If vegetarian, use tempeh or tofu as the meat. Use hummus as a protein rich spread!  • Salads! Think of interesting combinations, some great salad add-ins are dried fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, jicama, cucumber, fruits (apples, strawberries, pineapple, mango). Use a light dressing, such as a light balsamic vinigarette as opposed to heavy dressings such as ranch, thousand island etc.  • It is important to get vegetables into the diet and lunch is a great time to have a side of vegetables, such as carrots or cucumbers. Consider these easy to grab side dishes as opposed to chips and processed foods. 
Dinner examples: 
• Dinner is a good time to get in more vegetables for vitamins and minerals. Choose a protein main dish, whether it be 3-5oz of meat or vegetarian option such as lentils, tofu, tempeh and pair it with 1-2 vegetables. If you are using a carbohydrate, such as rice, bread, pasta, make that the smallest part of the meal. Focus on the nutrition first and add those as accompaniments to the main meal, not as the main meal! 
The fast food situation:
Children and Teenagers need more calories than adults, particularly if they are active. The key is to focus on the nutritional value of the food being consumed rather than counting the calories or reaching caloric goals with poorly nutrient foods. Fast food restaurants do have some healthier options if you order them in a healthy way, so in a pinch, when you have no other option, here are some tips for fast food eating:
• Get a hamburger or chicken patty without cheese or bun. Wrap it in lettuce! Opt for a side salad with a light dressing, such as vinaigrette as the side instead of French fries. Some places have fruit as a side dish, which is a nice way to get a healthy carbohydrate.  • When ordering from sandwich places, load up on the vegetables on the sandwich and get fruit on the side. Consider ordering sandwiches from a grocery store deli rather than chain store. They are just as quick, but tend to have more quality side dish options and better quality vegetables. You can also make a sandwich into a salad! • At Asian based fast food places, skip tons of sauce and get extra vegetables with the meat/tofu.  • For Mexican based fast food chains, choose the “bare” or “bowl” option. Skip the excess cheese and sour cream and have a little guacamole (avocados are good for you!). 
Dr. Tricia Pingel, NMD 10505 N 69th Street, Suite 1100A, Scottsdale,  AZ  85253 (602) 845-8949 office line         1-888-523-4DOC    toll free
* Dr. Pingel is a Hubbard mom and the wife of a Hubbard instructor, Tyler Pingel.

Top End of Year Food & Nutrition Tips


By Chris Rosenbloom, PhD, RDN  | Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Each month, USA Swimming posts an article on nutrition to encourage swimmers to eat well to move well. Let’s take an end of year review of top tips over the past months as you prepare for 2019.

1.     Protein is an important nutrient for athletes of all ages, but more isn’t better. Instead of heaping amounts of protein at dinner, try to eat protein at every meal and snack for a more even distribution to feed your muscles all day long. Vegetarian athletes don’t need more protein than meat-eaters, but quality is important, and soy protein is a vegetarian’s best bet for quality.

2.     Sandwiches are an easy, tasty vehicle for carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats. Load up the veggies (peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes), pick a lean protein (chicken, turkey, roast beef, ham), and eat it on the bread of your choice. Remember, only half your grains need to be whole, so nothing wrong with wheat, white, or rye bread. Slather on healthy fats by adding avocado, hummus, or splash of olive oil.

3.     Make your snacks pull double-duty; an ideal snack is one that satisfies hunger and adds to the overall nutritional value of your diet. Good choices include walnuts, almonds, peanuts, kefir, Greek yogurt, low-fat chocolate milk, and fresh or dried fruit.

4.     Make a hydration plan for long workouts and all-day swim meets. Most athletes cannot rely on thirst to stay hydrated and dehydration is always bad: for physical health, for performance, and for motivation and clear thinking.

5.     Eat before competition, but never to the point of feeling stuffed or uncomfortable. A heavy meal takes longer to digest, and blood gets shunted to the gut for digestion instead of carrying needed oxygen and nutrients to your arms and legs.

6.     Swimmers need to be strong, yet teens have the lowest diet quality of any other group, so focus on dietary patterns, not individual foods, to promote strength. Don’t think of any one food as a superfood, but try to make food choices into a super diet by eating every 3 to 4 hours, packing snacks for pre-and post-workouts, especially if you have an early lunch period at school, and choose foods from all food groups throughout the day. Don’t limit carbohydrates, protein, or fat.

7.     Eat in the morning before practice. Even a small amount of food will help break the overnight fast and you help you get through your workout. Try liquids (smoothies, yogurt drinks, or milk) if you can’t eat solid food.

While these tips cap off 2018, they are all useful to build a solid base for 2019. Happy holidays!


Chris Rosenbloom, PhD, is a registered dietitian nutritionist who has provided nutrition information to coaches and athletes for over 30 years. She welcomes questions from swimmers, parents, and coaches at [email protected].