Food is Energy

An athlete needs to eat more food than a person who isn't as active or who doesn't play sports. An athlete needs this extra food to have enough energy to perform at her best. If you are a young athlete, you need more energy because you are still growing and growing uses a lot of energy! Are you getting enough energy every day to perform at your very best?

Types of Food Energy

  • Carbohydrates are your main source of energy. We can also digest them easily. Foods like bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, cereal, fruits, vegetables and even candy (like jujubes and gummi bears) have carbohydrates in them. Eat carbohydrates like pasta, potatoes, bread, or rice for your pre-competition meal. They give athletes the energy they need to do their best!
  • Fats are an excellent source of energy for growing athletes. Despite what you hear in the media about fat, you need to eat fat. If athletes don't get enough fat, they won't grow or build muscle as well as they should. Fats help to make food taste delicious, and they help our bodies know when we've had enough to eat. It takes longer for our bodies to digest fat, so we don't need to eat a lot of it right before a competition. Eating foods with fat in them after training or competing is a great way to rebuild our energy!
  • Proteins are an important part of chemical reactions in the body, like digestion. Athletes need to eat protein to help build and repair body tissues (like your skin, muscle, blood, bones and organs). Proteins are also very important for the immune system, which can keep athletes healthy during cold and flu season. Proteins help our brains work properly and also affect our moods. Great sources of proteins are foods like meat, cheese, milk, soy products (like tofu and soy milk), fish, chickpeas, yogurt, peanut butter, poultry, eggs, lentils, kidney beans and nuts.