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A Healthy Diet for Certain Sports

A Healthy Diet for Certain Sports

How can I eat well for running?
For swimming?
For softball?

If you're an athlete, you need the same healthy diet that all teens need—one that's high in grains, fruits, and vegetables, and low in fat. Use the Food Guide Pyramid to make sure you are getting the right amount from each food group. Because you are active, you may need to make a few adjustments to get the fuel you need to keep up with the demands of your sport. back to top

How can I eat well for running?
The basics of planning a healthy diet for active teens applies to all sports, including running. For those anaerobic sprints, your body relies mostly on glycogen for energy. For less intense but longer activities, like cross-country running, your body uses more fat and less glycogen. But this doesn't mean you need to change the basic makeup of your diet. A healthy diet, with 60 to 65 percent of calories from carbohydrates and no more than 30 percent of calories from fat, is best for both types of running.

If you are a long-distance runner, you probably use more energy than a sprinter in daily training and in competition, so you need more calories. For a healthy diet, those extra calories should come from the grain, vegetable, and fruit food groups. You may also need a little more protein, because during lengthy activities, your body may need to draw energy from protein as well as from carbohydrates and fat. back to top

For swimming?
Follow the basic guidelines for planning a healthy diet for athletes, including keeping your body hydrated. You may not notice it while you are swimming, but your body does heat up. You even sweat while swimming. So you need to drink water, just like any other athlete.

If you have an all-day meet, where you compete several times throughout the day, you may need extra carbohydrates. Have high-carbohydrate, low-fat snacks, like granola bars and apples, on hand. Long-distance swimmers may need more calories than sprinters do for training and competition. Get the extra calories you need from the grain, vegetable, and fruit food groups. back to top

For softball?
When playing softball, you need sudden, short bursts of energy to run after a ground ball or to speed to second base. For this type of activity, your body needs a good supply of glycogen. So follow the basic guidelines for planning a healthy diet for active teens. Get 60 to 65 percent of your calories from carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables, and fruits), and drink plenty of water.

During day-long tournaments, snack on foods that are high in carbohydrates and low in fat. Crackers, granola bars, oranges, apples, baby carrots, and bananas are good choices. Keep frozen grapes in a cooler for a real treat on a hot day! back to top

Last Modified Date: 3/22/2001
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