Archive for Thursday, November 29, 2001

Pick from the pyramid to help guarantee good nutrition

November 29, 2001


Athletic teens and others concerned about nutrition can heed this advice from

One of the best ways to ensure you're in top form is to follow the Food Guide Pyramid. Sound simple? It is. By eating the recommended groups of foods in the suggested amounts, you are giving your body the nutrients it needs to succeed.

You can find a copy of the Food Guide Pyramid on most boxes of cereal. (When following the Food Guide Pyramid, remember that some teen athletes may need more than the suggested daily servings of certain foods.) Eating regular meals and healthy snacks will keep you in top form.

The Food Guide Pyramid is a crucial part of eating for sports because it includes a variety of nutrients. You'll need the combination of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and other nutrients from different foods to be at the top of your game.

That's why it's never a good idea to carbohydrate load or eat only one type of food when you're training for an event or game. You may have heard about people who swear by eating only pasta before a big event, but this isn't the way to go if you're a teen. A younger body needs different types of foods to do well in sports; eating from only one part of the pyramid will probably let your body down.

While you're picking foods from the Food Guide Pyramid, it's very important that you are eating enough. Dieting is not a part of being an athlete, unless your doctor gives you instructions to do so. Most athletic teens need all the calories they normally consume to give them power and strength, and cutting calories can not only hinder performance, it can even be dangerous.

In addition, the growth spurts that teens undergo require some extra body fat, which translates to extra calories consumed. If anyone a coach, a gym teacher or another teammate says that you should go (or have to go) on a diet, don't do anything until you talk with your doctor.

If your doctor determines that a diet is necessary, he or she can work with you to come up with a program that meets your needs.

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