Nutrition for Active Kids

Find some great tips on nutrition for active kids! What they should eat and when.

You are what you eat!  We’ve all heard that saying,  but it’s extremely true!  As parents it’s our job to instill good habits in our kiddos and healthy nutrition should be at the top of the list.  If you have active kids/athletes, than feeding them the right food and keeping them hydrated is probably the most important thing you can do for them!

Fact:  Athletes burn a LOT of calories!  Kids 6-12 need approximately 1600-2000 calories a day, so a kid in sports will need a little more!

Here are some things to consider when thinking about nutrition for active kids:

VARIETY:  A healthy variety of food is important.  You have probably heard this all your life but it’s especially important for young, active kiddos!  Healthy protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals and some fats are a great combo.

CALCIUM:  This, of course, helps build strong bones.  Think about how rough kids play!  It’s vital that they are getting the nutrients to make those bones stronger and less susceptible to injury.  We often think of milk as a source of calcium but other dairy products, dark green leafy veggies and orange juice are all good sources.

HYDRATION:  Keep kids hydrated!  Water is THE. BEST. way but other drinks, like Gatorade, are great alternatives!  It’s also important to constantly hydrate and don’t wait until your kids are active.  Hydration should happen way before exercise.

IRON:  Did you know that  iron is a nutrient?  You might be surprised to learn that low iron is the most common nutritional deficiency in the U.S.!  Iron helps transport oxygen in your body and low iron can cause fatigue.  Find a list of food high in iron: HERE


According to WebMD:

“Infants and toddlers need more iron than adults, in general, because their bodies are growing so quickly. In childhood, boys and girls need the same amount of iron — 10 milligrams daily from ages 4 to 8, and 8 mg daily from ages 9 to 13.  

Starting at adolescence, a woman’s daily iron needs increase: from ages 19 to 50 need to get 18 mg of iron each day, while men the same age can get away with just 8 mg. “


If your child is in sports, a pre-game meal should happen 2-4 hours BEFORE and should be high in carbs with a small amount of fats and protein.  Try your best to stay away from fast food (full of bad fats) and FIBER.  Fiber is good for us most of the time, but not so great when you need to use a ton of energy.  According to Jill Pluhar, R.D., a nutritionist at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston, “Fiber takes a while to get through your system and it can contribute to gastrointestinal distress, so reducing it before a big athletic event can help things run more smoothly.”

NO one is perfect and we can’t always make sure our kids are making healthy choices.  Let’s be honest, I don’t always make the right choices!   BUT we can educate ourselves on what our little people need most. 🙂

Here are a few more resources that might help:  Raw Foods For Athletes and 6 Best Hydrating Food for Athletes