Speaking to your athletes about nutritious choices is not as complicated as it may seem. As a sports dietitian at Mississippi State University (MSU), I emphasize to our players that a balanced snack will keep them full and help them recover after summer workouts and training. Athletes appreciate knowing they will not only feel great, but also be able to build on their workouts with fueled muscles.
Take a play out of MSU’s sports nutrition playbook and encourage healthy snacks that contain both carbohydrates for energy and protein for satiety. Great choices are Greek yogurt, low-fat milk, crackers and cheese or a fruit-and-yogurt smoothie.
While healthy snacks are important, recovery after workouts is vital. Recovery begins immediately after training ends and your athletes need carbohydrates to get energy back in their muscles, high-quality protein to help their muscles recover and natural electrolytes to help with rehydration and prevent cramping. Chocolate milk is the perfect recovery snack that contains all of these nutrients, making it not only the best post-workout snack from a nutrition perspective, but also convenient and inexpensive.
The best part about snacking on and recovering with dairy foods is they all offer calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, protein and potassium to build and maintain young athletes’ growing bones and prevent stress fractures. The bottom line: Wholesome dairy foods contain everything your athletes need to help them come into the next season healthy and strong.
Curious for more information? Learn about the many health benefits of chocolate milk.
Kelly White, MS, RD, CSSD, LD is a registered dietitian and a certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD) with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Currently, Kelly is the sports dietitian for Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS. She is also a seasoned marathon runner and triathlon enthusiast.