ArticlesOct 25 2011
Are you having a hard time gaining or maintaining weight? With all of the media attention on childhood obesity, gaining healthy weight often gets little attention. Young teen athletes have the highest need for calories of any age group, and with heavy training, weekly competition and daily school work, eating enough calories can be a challenge.
Try these five tips to keep your energy level up and your muscles fueled:
- Choose high-calorie foods that pack a lot of nutrients into small portions, like shelled nuts and seeds. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, and sunflower seeds are all high in calories, protein and good fats (don't waste calories by having to crack the shell to get to the good stuff).
- Carry trail mix in your back pack and snack on it between classes or after a workout. Learn to make your own trail mix by adding your favorite nuts, dried fruits and cereal. If you have to add something sweet to your trail mix, try peanut or almond M&Ms.
- Eat 6 times a day and always have a bedtime snack. Good choices include cereal, banana and milk, a yogurt smoothie, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a large glass of grape juice with cheese and crackers, or chocolate milk and raisin-oatmeal cookies.
- Eat a starchy side dish with each meal….baked potato topped with broccoli and cheese, corn, green or black-eyed peas, rice, pasta, and beans, like kidney, black or baked beans are all quality carbohydrates.
- Add "stuff to stuff." Add cheese to scrambled eggs and top sandwiches with cheese, add peanut butter to hot oatmeal, add chopped nuts to yogurt and top with honey, use margarine on vegetables, bread and toast or add cream cheese to mashed potatoes or noodles.
Parents can help their swimmers gain healthy weight by trying these 5 tips:
- Buy dry skim milk powder and add it to macaroni and cheese, potato dishes, meatloaf and ground meat for making meatballs. Skim milk powder adds calories, protein, calcium and potassium..nutrients needed by athletes.
- Use milk in place of water for condensed soups like tomato, potato or mushroom soup.
- Stock the kitchen with high calorie beverages (100% fruit juice, vegetable juices and dairy or soy smoothies).
- Make large batches of your child's favorites, like chili or lasagna, and freeze in individual servings and defrost and reheat in the microwave for a quick meal or snack.
- Dig out the blender and make milkshakes and smoothies. Let the family experiment to find their favorite flavor combinations.
Courtesy of USA Swimming. Chris Rosenbloom is the sports dietitian for Georgia State University Athletic Department and is the editor of the American Dietetic Association's Sports Nutrition Manual, 5th edition, schedule for publication in 2012.