ATLANTA — Now that school is in full swing, are you chauffeuring your budding Olympic athletes to practice, school and home? Busy kids need fuel to perform at their best in the classroom, as well as on the field or court.
One thing to help your kids is to provide foods and fluids for recovery. Young muscles need fuel to replenish losses after a hard practice. Try to feed kids within an hour after practice to help them recover, refuel and repair muscles. A combination of carbohydrates and protein is the best mix. Keep snacks in the car so when you pick up your daughter after soccer practice she can start the recovery process. Good recovery combinations are:
• Low-fat chocolate milk and graham crackers;
• Half a peanut butter sandwich and sports drink;
• Apple or orange with a handful of nuts and water;
• Slice of turkey on half a bagel with 100 percent fruit juice;
• Cup of chicken noodle soup and crackers.
What milk can do
Is skim milk the new muscle builder? Move over protein shakes — skim milk was found to promote muscle building better than a soy protein drink. In a study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers fed healthy young men a soy-based beverage or skim milk (the beverages contained the same number of calories and 18 grams of total protein) after a bout of weightlifting. The soy and the milk proteins increased blood levels of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) but the milk protein resulted in a greater uptake of amino acids into the muscle and a greater rate of muscle protein synthesis. Conclusion: Milk protein taken after weight training has the potential to help you build muscle more rapidly.
Spotlight on energy bars
Are energy bars a good choice for post-workout recovery? Yes, if they provide carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates help replace muscle glycogen and protein helps repair muscle damage while providing the necessary building blocks for muscle growth. Try Kashi GoLean Chewy or Kashi GoLean Crunchy protein and fiber bars for a tasty post-exercise snack. The chewy bar is bigger (78 grams) than the crunchy bar (45 grams), so it packs more calories (290 calories per bar) and more protein (13 grams) than the chewy bar (150 calories and 8 grams of protein). The downside? Don't use these bars pre-workout because the fiber might cause stomach upset in those with a sensitive tummy.
Chris Rosenbloom, Ph.D., R.D., is a professor of nutrition in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Georgia State University.