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The Teenage Athlete Diet Plan

October 23, 2012 | Rob Thompson

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Have you noticed that no one is trying simply to lose weight any more? Every athlete (and non-athlete) who is dissatisfied with his or her body image is on a "program" or a "diet plan."

Attempts to lose weight don't require a name to be effective; they just need to be consistent. This is especially true for teenage athletes, who rely on good nutrition to fuel elite performance and for overall development. (See Bridging the Nutrition Gap For the Student-Athlete.)

Need some help? Active teenage  athletes: here's what your diet and meals should focus on.

The Teenage Diet Plan

Wake-up: 6:30 a.m.

Drink at least 10 ounces of water. Your body is between 60 and 70 percent water, and drinking more on a daily basis will increase your energy. Your internal organs need water to function properly, so if you're lacking water in your diet, you will ultimately experience deficiencies when training.

A popular guideline is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. If you are exercising on a particular day, add 16 to 20 ounces per hour of exercise. (Read Hydration Facts Athletes Need To Know.)

Breakfast: 7:00 a.m.

  • Two egg whites and one whole egg
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 16 ounces of water

Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day. What you ingest 30 to 60 minutes after waking up essentially determines how the rest of your day will play out.

Mid-Morning Snack: 10:00 a.m.

  • 1/2 cup fresh fruit and 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 16 ounces of water

Lunch: 12:30 p.m.

  • Grilled chicken breast (8 ounces)
  • Spinach (1/2 cup)
  • Medium baked potato
  • 16 ounces of water

Pre-Practice: (45 minutes before practice)

For optimum energy levels, consume a small snack no less than 45 minutes before practice; for example, one of the following:

  • 16 ounces of Gatorade
  • 16 ounces of water and peanut butter crackers
  • 16 ounces of Gatorade and one banana

Dinner: 7:00 p.m.

  • Grilled salmon (8 ounces)
  • Brown rice (1 cup)
  • Steamed broccoli (1 cup)
  • 16 ounces of water

Before Bedtime 10:30 p.m.

  • 10 ounces of low-fat milk (may add chocolate syrup)

Summary

Your daily food intake need not look exactly like this, nor do you have to follow the specific timeline. But if you make good nutrition a priority and include healthy choices like the examples above, not only will you lose weight, you will see performance benefits in your sport as well.  (Also read How to Sustain Healthy Eating Habits.)

Rob Thompson
- Rob Thompson is a Florida high school assistant football coach who has coached defensive line and special teams since 2008. He also has three years...
Rob Thompson
- Rob Thompson is a Florida high school assistant football coach who has coached defensive line and special teams since 2008. He also has three years...
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