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What To Eat and Drink While Playing Sports

Eating Carbohydrate-Rich Foods or Drinking Sports Drinks Improves Performance

Here are some tips on eating and drinking during sports or exercise.

  • Consuming carbohydrate-rich foods and fluids during stop-and-go and endurance sports lasting an hour or longer (like soccer, football, basketball, hockey and volleyball) can improve performance by providing glucose for muscles when they are running low on glycogen, allowing the athlete to maintain pace longer and/or sprint harder at the end of exercise
  • Your child should try to consume 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate (120 to 140 calories) ever hour. He or she can obtain this amount from either carbohydrate-rich foods and/or sports drinks.  

  • An adequate amount of carbohydrates can come from any of the following:

    • One banana (30 grams of carbohydrate) 

    • One Power Bar (47 grams)

    • Two gels (about 50 grams)

    • Four small fig bars (42 grams)

    • Two large graham crackers (42 grams)

    • 20 to 40 ounces of a properly formulated (4-8% carbohydrates) sports drink.
  • Food and drink should be consumed before your child feels hungry or tired, usually within 30 minutes after starting exercise.
  • Consuming small amounts at frequent intervals (every 30 to 60 minutes) helps to promote hydration, maintain blood glucose levels, and prevent gastrointestinal upset.

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