All young athletes need to base their diets on a variety of nutritious
foods. MyPyramid is
an excellent guide for young athletes to use because it
Because of their rapid growth and development and higher levels of physical
activity, many teen athletes should eat the higher amounts of food recommended from each food group--especially from the grains group (bread, cereal, rice,
pasta) and the vegetable group. A 180-pound tight end could easily
eat double or triple the minimum amount recommended for grains, and the same holds for vegetables. This athlete may even need more than the maximum servings recommended.
That's why large male athletes involved
in a vigorous sport like football or soccer will probably have to eat more than
the recommended amounts given for the 3,200 calorie level show in MyPyramid Food Intake Patterns.
Estimate your calorie needs and look at the amounts of foods from each group that are recommended to meet that need.
In no instance should you eat less than the minimum amounts for any
food group. You need the minimum to supply a base level of essential
nutrients and calories required for good health. Consuming the minimums listed in MyPyramid Food Intake Patterns will supply about 1,600 calories,
which is the minimum a sedentary teen girl should take in. Active girls need more. Sedentary teen boys need at least
2,000 calories a day; rigorous physical activity can easily double or triple needed calories, so plan accordingly. Remember to emphasize the grain and vegetable groups to build energy-giving glycogen stores in your body.
- helps you to select a variety of nutritious foods,
- emphasizes the starchy foods like grains (breads, cereals, rice, pastas) and vegetables
you need to build glycogen stores,
- guides your selection of a lower fat diet, and
- offers you a variety of foods within each food group so that meals
can be built around the foods you like.
Next: Emphasize Starchy Foods