Nutrition for Young Players

Healthy nutrition is a critical part of your child’s development — both as a young person and as a young hockey player. Follow these tips to ensure your child is ready for practices and games.

Game Day Nutrition

On game day everything counts and athletes must eat well to perform at their highest level, on demand and from beginning to end.

  • Drink water, not sugar drinks. It’s important for your child to day hydrated for practices and games, and water is generally the best choice. Avoid soda beverages and sport drinks that are full of sugar.
  • Eat balanced meals. During the day, make sure your child eats from all the essential food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, lean meats, meat substitutes, dairy, healthy fats). It’s not necessary to incorporate everything into each meal, but your child should eat some of these items each day.

Game Day Nutrition Challenges & Possible Solutions

  • If a player has low energy and is losing mental focus they should be provided with fuel such as fresh fruit, a sport drink, unsweetened juice or a granola bar.
  • Quality ingredients provide quality nutrition. Given the choice between processed flour or whole grains, choose whole grains. Rather than processed fruit snacks, eat whole fruits. In general, stick with unprocessed whole foods and avoid processed packaged items as much as possible.

Examples of Meals from Breakfast to Post-Game, Food to Avoid & Timing

  • Eat carefully on the road. When possible, stop at a grocery store and eat fresh from the deli department, or create your own healthy meals with whole grain breads, meats, nuts, cheeses, vegetables, and fruit. If you know you will be eating at a restaurant, do some research ahead of time to find places that serve balanced meals and healthy food.
  • Avoid fried foods and sugary sauces. Fried foods are difficult to digest in general, and they often feature unhealthy trans fats if you are eating at a restaurant or a concession. Similarly, many sauces and dressings from restaurants and stores are full of unhealthy sugars, hydrogenated oils, and chemical additives. Either reduce the serving portions of these sauces and dressings or create healthy alternatives at home using olive oil and natural ingredients.