The Importance of Eating Healthy: High School Athletes


Sarah Hiestand, staff writer

There are many challenges high school athletes face such as balancing school work and sports, having enough energy after a long day of classes to put in full effort in practice, and eating the right foods that give you such energy. The food is very important not only to retain energy throughout the day, but because high schoolers are growing and their bodies need to consume enough nutrients while growing. Nutrients such as carbs, protein, fat, and fiber help the body grow and also give the body energy to get through the day. Athletes burn calories at practice and in games. Because of this, girls require an extra 750 calories daily to meet the energy demands of training and competing, and boys need an extra 900 calories daily. 

There are many negative effects of not eating healthy or not meeting the amount of calories in a day such as getting sick frequently, bad performance, and hormonal imbalances. An athlete’s body needs enough nutrients to work, and if the amount of calories are not met, the body will not function to its full ability. It won’t have enough energy to run, causing bad performance, and hormone imbalance can occur because hormones need nutrients such as protein to maintain and build them. 

In preparation for sports, it is important to hydrate, eat enough before and after workouts, and recover after exercise. These three things can help an athlete play to their best ability. Dehydration is common among high school athletes and the cause of most athletes’ fatigue in games or practices. Sweating causes your body to lose fluids and causes dehydration if not properly hydrated throughout the day. Dehydration is a large contributing factor to poor performance in athletes. Carbs and fat fuel your muscles and it is important to replenish in carbs and healthy fats to help your muscles and your body perform to its peak. It is important to eat good carbs and fats before practice to help your muscles work well while working out. Finally, recovery is very important for an athlete. Since exercise causes damage to muscle tissue and muscles are adapting to the workload you impose, it is important to refuel after a workout. It prepares you for the next practice and helps your muscles rebuild. 

In conclusion, high school athletes must fuel their bodies with the correct foods during their seasons. The wear and tear of high school seasons can cause your body to weaken throughout the season, but this can be prevented through fueling, recovery, and hydration. Poor shape and performance follow if athletes do not take the proper steps to take care of their bodies. 

Information gathered from Nestle Nutrition: “Eat to Compete in High School:
Sports Nutrition for Teen Athletes”