Kids Nutrition: Reading Labels is the Key

We know it’s hard. All kids are different about what they will and will not eat, and all families live different lifestyles. As part of your young athletes’ lives, we always feel that good nutrition goes hand in hand with developing players skills as well as their strength and agility. Sometimes we’ve been asked for some advice.  And, although Coach Corey is not a nutritionist, his lifelong study of developing kids physically has also lead him to learning what’s best for kids eating healthfully. Here are a few things we know for sure, and it mostly boils down to one thing: Reading Nutrition Labels is the key.

  • Serving size. This will tell you how much is too much. For example, a small bag of chips or a bottled beverage may have more than one serving. Eat or drink the whole thing and now you’ve DOUBLED the calories.
  • If you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably a chemical and that’s not what you want to fuel your athlete. Words like “hydrogenated” means extra fat and words that end in “ose” means extra sugar. Extra sugar can be in foods you wouldn’t consider, like bread or pasta sauce. Even when you think an item might be “healthy” check the label for these bad nutrition culprits.
  • Beware of labels like “low fat” or “all natural”. Those sneaky phrases can mean the ingredients are compensating with added sugar or fat in other areas. Again, reading the nutrition label is going to be your best bet in finding out what’s REALLY in the package.

Some other tips we can offer: Shop the outer isles of the grocery store which is where the “whole” foods are – the produce, dairy, and meats, etc.  Within the inner isles lie the processed foods.

Substitute healthy items for what your child likes. For example, whole wheat pasta gives you more sustainable energy than regular pasta, which has less nutritional value and turns directly into sugar within the body.

“Sneak in” some healthy items into what your child likes. Add shredded carrots to chili, add some chopped spinach to pasta sauce, or add some cauliflower to macaroni and cheese. If you don’t say anything, chances are they won’t notice and meanwhile you’ve upped the nutritional value of their favorite foods.

The staff at CAL Sports always has kid’s wellbeing at heart, and we do strongly believe that better nutrition plays a part in making a better athlete. We’re always here for you, and if we don’t have all the answers – we can definitely look for those solutions TOGETHER.

Here’s an article that gives a nice overview of good nutritional practices for families.

Good luck and let us know if we can be of any help!