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1397 Views 1 Reply Latest reply: Oct 30, 2012 11:51 AM by MicheleSwim
richepd Rookie 3 posts since
Oct 6, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Oct 24, 2012 7:36 AM

Help with child athlete's hydration / nutrition - serious inquiry

I really need some help with my daughter's hydration and nutrition and I don't think a normal doctor can really provide much insight. 


My daughter is 6 - and works out with me a lot.  By a lot, I mean we workout together between 4-5 days a week and run literally between 3-7 miles at a time.  Yes, really (she's even done her first official 10K this year and previously did a lot of 5K races or 5 mile races).  Ivy's been running since she turned 3 and that's even when she did her first 5K.  She loves running (almost all of the time) and she really enjoys working out, especially when we vary our routes or routines (i.e. if we run some suicide sprints one day vice just a long boring run).  I am happy she's really getting more into it, but it does make me nervous to ensure she is eating the right types of food for her exercise level and ensure she is staying hydrated. 


She doesn't drink much water - especially at school when I can't monitor her and remind her to drink.  She takes a bottle of water (like a 30oz bottle) with her to school and I'd be surprised if she drank one full one.  I send her to school with MIO so she can put it in the water if she drinks all of it and needs a refill - (help her with drinking more water).  But I am at a loss on how to ensure she is staying hydrated enough.  We finish a run, and she will drink a few glasses of water when we get back.  She doesn't sweat hardly at all (I know most kids don't sweat much) and so it's really hard to determine how hydrated she is before a run.  She normally doesn't act dehydrated or like she's having a difficult time, but I want a way to ensure she is staying hydrated prior to running.


I also am trying to find some healthy alternatives for school lunches for her.  She hates eating the same foods every day, doesn't really care for sandwiches, but loves fruits and veggies.  (No problems getting her to eat those.) We eat pretty healthy at home with an occasional exception, but I am just out of ideas for what to send her to school for lunch that will give her adequate nutrition, keep her energized, has variety without costing a fortune, and is actually healthy for her (not lunchables). 


Any help / advice would be greatly appreciated.


  • MicheleSwim Rookie 4 posts since
    Oct 16, 2012

    This is a great question! It sounds like you make sure she is drinking water when you are with her but definitely try to get her in the habit of having a water bottle with her at all times. That is what I have to do. My mom trained me to sip all of the time especially when I was at swim meets. Now it is habit as long as I keep my water bottle with me.


    When it comes to hydration be sure your daughter knows that once she gets thirsty she is already dehydrated. Catch up is very hard. To keep track of how hydrated she is I think it would be a good idea to have a urine color scale sheet (like below). That way she could tell you what number itlooked like and you can keep track. The more yellow color to urine, the less hydrated you are. I don’t always agree with rewards for things but they usuallydo work. In this case if she really likes running, maybe you could have a rulethat she can’t go on a run unless she drinks at least 1 6-8 oz glass of waterbefore. Or as long as she tells you the color of her urine accurately, youcould allow her to run only when it is a 3 or less on the scale. Just someideas to try J Ialso really recommend chocolate milk after working out and runs. I’m sure youhave heard of that but it really is a great recovery drink  because it provides protein and carbohydrate with potassium, a little sodium, vitamin D, and calcium.


    Total Fluid (cups)Fluid from BeveragesFluid from food
    4- 8757
    9- 13972


    urine color.jpg


    As far as diet try to assess the proportion of caloriescoming from protein, carbs, and fat. Protein should account for 10- 15 % dailycalories, carbs should be about 55% (for active children), and 25- 30% ofcalories from fat. Remember that carbohydrates include a variety of foods, notjust grains and fruit. Vegetables, milk, and many processed foods also containcarbohydrates. Anything with sugar in it naturally or added is a carbohydrate. Protein will be very important for her with being so active so make sure she is gettinga variety. Fat is just as important! I’m sure you know that she should stay away from trans fats and limit saturated fats. Good fats to include are monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids.


    Lunch ideas:

    Depending on what she likes and if she can keep things cold or hot these are some really great foods that are great for lunches.

    -hummus and pita bread

    -soup (low sodium)

    -baked chips and salsa(bean salsa for extra protein)

    -fresh veggies (carrotsticks, red bell pepper slices, broccoli, cherry tomatoes)

    -fruit (bananas,strawberries, blueberries) (apple with peanut butter)


    -guacamole and pita or baked chips

    -pasta with olive oil, veggies,and chicken or beans

    -almonds, walnuts, pistachios,other nuts she might like

    -bars (Odwalla bars,Cliff bars mini, Luna bars)


    *let me know if you want any recipes or anything (sorry this is so long)

    here are some links that may be helpful:




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