Beating the Heat of Summer Sports

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Question: My daughter plays on a travel softball team and we have recently encountered a problem with the way she eats. She will eat a light breakfast but due to the heat and the stress she puts on herself about her performance she usually refuses to eat until her energy is spent and can’t play. Do you have any suggestions to help with getting her to eat?
Answer: The combination of athletic competition and the heat can affect appetite. Though you didn’t address this, summer athletes especially need to remain hydrated and this begins the day prior to the competition not just while the activity is occurring. Using the clock hydration system, insist on getting your child at least 48 ounces of water a day: 12 oz. by 9 AM, 12 oz. by noon, 12 oz. by 3 PM and the final 12 oz. by 6 PM. Consider whatever your child drinks at meals as additional fluid. The 48 ounces is on the low end of what they will need in heat conditions. During and after the activity, frequently alternate drinking water and Gatorade or other electrolyte replacement drink.
For both your young athlete and your family pack foods in a cooler that are healthy. The hotdogs, candy, nachos and soft drinks available at most ballparks are useless nutritionally and tend to make kids sluggish. Be proactive not reactive, pack a variety of foods, both those that are cooling and those that are light. Cooling foods include frozen grapes or frozen bananas on popsicle sticks. Peel a banana and push a popsicle stick in it and wrap it in plastic cling wrap. Freeze it overnight and keep it in the cooler. Apples and oranges on ice are refreshing as well. For a light healthy lunch use pita pockets stuffed with sliced lean turkey, ham or roast beef. Pretzels or Baked Lay’s make a good side dish.
If eating still seems to be too much for your child, you could consider mixing a protein supplement called Nectar with Gatorade or Powerade. The Nectar protein is different from the usual whey protein supplements. Most protein supplements taste like milk shakes and mix well with milk while Nectar has a fruity taste and mixes well in sports drinks. Adding a scoop would provide protein as well as the carbs from the drink. It’s preferable to get your child to eat but if food doesn’t sit well with them during extended periods in the heat or at long sports events, the protein sports drink mixture will keep them refreshed and from running out of energy. The Nectar protein is available at Unlimited Nutrition located on Holly Hill Lane and their number is 336-538-1188.
One final reminder is to keep maximum sunscreen on you and your kids. Reapply frequently and if someone does get sunburned, a great refreshing sunburn recovery solution called Solar Recovery which can be found online or at surf shops at the beach.
Keep your kids active, healthy and safe this summer.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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