Nutrition and Hydration for parents of children in Judo.

Fresh vegetables are common in a healthy diet.
Image via Wikipedia

Children in Judo participate in a high intensity activity, that causes them to get hot and hungry. In this post we shall look at how the food and drinks you give your child relate to their participation in Judo and also to their health.

Lets be clear, a huge majority of children in Judo need no changes to their diet to help them participate in Judo! Children in Judo generally do not need nutrient supplements, special diets, expensive sports drinks, etc. In fact there are some very good reasons that you should avoid “sports nutrition” products.

What a majority of children in Judo need is a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables and plain tap water to drink.

This said, there is more to the topic. For example the age of your child is in fact a big factor. I would normally suggest that someone drink a good quantity (a glass) of water 45+ minutes before a class to help ensure they are hydrated properly. However, if you have very young children in Judo classes this can backfire as their bladders may not be up to the duration and they will either wet themselves or be forced to leave the mat for the toilet; neither of which are desirable.

On the topic of hydration, I would suggest to parents that you give your child a sports “sipper” bottle of tap water to take along to class, incase they need a drink. I would recommend avoiding “sports drinks” like Gatorade or Lucozade as they typically have high sugar levels and this can cause dental problems like encouraging tooth decay (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050323001206.htm).

Similarly, other “supplements” can be safely ignored unless prescribed by a doctor. Your child does not need protein shakes, additional vitamins, energy bars and the like. A simple balanced diet will provide all the nutritional requirements for your child. If you change anything you may need to alter the carbohydrate content (potatoes, pasta, etc.) slightly to increase the amount of calories your child is consuming.

This of course assumes that your child is of a healthy weight, in which case participating in Judo will cause them to use more energy and you need to add more healthy food to their diet to balance the outgoing calories. If the reverse is the case and your child is overweight, then you need to maintain the same calorie level and increase participation in Judo. Perhaps changing the balance of the meals to have less carbohydrate and fat content slightly.

If your child reaches a high level in Judo, you may need to really work hard to provide enough calories to meet their nutrient needs. However, the majority of us are well below a level where we need a special diet. A varied, balanced diet is more than adequate for a vast majority of children in Judo.

Fresh fruit and vegetables and a wide variety of food types is by far better for your child than any amount of special “sports supplements”. Also, if your child is reaching a high level (like a national team) supplements become even more risky as some supplements have been found to contain banned substances. Organisations that govern drugs in sports urge caution when using supplements and as far back as 1999 the advice was to avoid them (http://www.uksport.gov.uk/news/new_sports_supplements_resource/).

If you are looking for advice your local GP will be able to point you in the right direction.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tags: , , , ,

This entry was posted by lancew on Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 at 3:06 pm and is filed under Judo . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply