Tournament Travel Tips to Fuel Young Athletes

kids carrying milk and soccer ball

For athletes, spring and summer do not always equal down time. Instead with warmer weather comes travel tournaments, road time, and stops at fast food eateries. Travel can challenge an athlete’s food choices and sleep, undermining performance and bone health. According to a recent survey conducted by The Dairy Alliance, 52 percent of parents today are unaware that good adult bone health starts with calcium intake as a child. Don’t let travel tournaments derail your efforts to build healthy bones and bodies for life. The health benefits of dairy offer calcium, protein, and vitamin D for bones that are built to last. Use these simple tips to keep young athletes on track during summer tournaments and beyond.

Tip #1: Look Ahead

Review the area’s restaurants and menu options before you reach your destination so you know what to expect and can make healthier choices.

  • Hotel breakfast: Balance your plate with one of these combinations
    • Eggs, toast or bagel, fruit, milk or yogurt
    • Cereal, milk, fresh fruit
    • Peanut butter sandwich, milk, and fruit
  • Lunch and snacks at the game: Pack your cooler
  • Dinner on the road: Avoid complimentary chips and bread starters
    • Order baked, broiled, grilled, steamed or roasted foods
    • Balance your plate with leaner protein, grains or beans, vegetables, healthy fat, and a glass of milk

Tip#2: Recover Right

Recovery foods are key to maintaining performance over multiple matches. Try some of these foods to help keep your body energized and healthy.

  • Greek yogurt and fruit
  • 16 oz. milk
  • Small protein recovery bar or ½ sandwich
  • Convenience options: ready-to-drink yogurt protein shake, high protein milk shake

Tip#3: Sleep For Success

Stick to your regular sleep schedule as much as possible. Young athletes need approximately 9 hours of sleep each night. Turn off the TV and any other screens since screen stimulation can make it hard to fall asleep.

Follow these simple tips for a performance fueled spring and summer and a healthy body for life.

Theresa Logan, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN

Theresa Logan is a registered dietitian, and board-certified specialist in sports dietetics. Theresa is a nutrition consultant for high school, collegiate, and professional athletes, and supplement companies. Theresa is the Sports Nutrition Coordinator for the Montgomery Sports Medicine Center in Silver Spring and Gaithersburg, Maryland. Theresa helped develop sports nutrition programs at the University of South Carolina, George Mason University, and Davidson College. She is a professional and student mentor, and member in various professional organizations.

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