Why Holistic Nutrition for Young Athletes?

Nutrition for young athletes is not something that is typically focused on. Much like in our education system, kids and parents get very little if any nutritional guidance. Any teaching that is done certainly isn't of a holistic nature and most in-school or in-sport nutrition programs are driven by larger food corporations and big business. This is a problem and injury and mental illness rates in increasingly younger athletes are showing us just how big of a problem this is.

There are two times in a person's life when sound nutrition is most critical for optimum health.

  1. When the person is going through a period of growth and/or development 

  2. When the body is under stress or strain, or increased levels of activity

Children grow at different rates at different times, but undergo significant body changes between the ages of 10-18. Additional calories and nutrients are required to support the demands of this period of growth.

It is at this same age range where we see the demands of youth sport increase dramatically, placing an additional increased demand for energy and nutrients for the body. During this time student athletes are learning time management, they are heavily influenced by peers and the media regarding food choices and they are still typically dependent on their parents for the majority of their food. 

The result of all of this is that the majority of student athletes do not get the number of calories daily required to healthfully sustain this level of growth and activity. In many cases, and especially with girls, it is frighteningly common for young athletes to not even meet their calorie needs to sustain their basal metabolic rate. 

Our bodies are always striving to bring us back to homeostasis. If we are lacking energy or nutrients in one area, our bodies will seek it out from other sources, ultimately pulling from our own tissues. It is no wonder then that the frequency and intensity of youth sport activities has gone up that we are seeing a general decline in the health and wellness of our young athletes. Google anything related to young athletes injury rates or rates of mental illness and you will quickly realise the scale of this problem. 

Although many programs are beginning to incorporate physical training to help reduce the incidence of injury among young athletes, the true foundation that must be addressed is Nutrition.

A holistic model of nutrition education and coaching for young athletes puts them at a huge advantage not only for their sport, but for their life. It empowers them with an understanding of their body, how foods impact them, how stress affects their body and mind and gives them strategies for eating well and managing their stress. These young athletes will play longer with fewer injuries, will be able to manage their emotions and thoughts and will without a doubt be the ones to surpass their competitors and rise to  their sport dreams and aspirations.

 Nutrition Workshops for Teams

These workshops are geared to athletes aged 10-18 and are a great way to get young athletes thinking about what they are putting in their body and understanding why their food choices are so critical to their performance and health. Each session is approximately 60-90 minutes and includes:

  • Explanation of a holistic approach

  • Discussion about macronutrients and why they are important for athletes

  • Estimation of energy requirements based on weight and physical activity level

  • Discussion of nutrient timing and when to eat for performance

  • Hydration requirements

  • Discussion of stress; how it affects the body and mind and strategies for recovering from stress

Additional topics can be added based on needs of the program and athletes and can be discussed upon booking. 


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Holistic Nutrition Seminar for Parents

When a sport team or program is taking strides to ensure a foundation of sound nutrition for their athletes, it makes sense to provide the parents with some support as well. It is after-all, the parents who will be primarily responsible for feeding the athletes both at home and away at competition. Buy-in from parents on the food front will dramatically impact the health of the athletes and their performance. 

These seminars are generally 60-90 minutes in length, but can be catered both in terms of time and content based on the needs of the program. 

General content includes:

  • Explanation of a holistic approach

  • Why focus on nutrition

  • How stress impacts health, performance and injury prevention

  • How to determine energy requirements of young athletes

  • Nutrient timing; when to feed them for performance and recovery

  • Hydration 

  • Snack and meal suggestions

  • All attendees get free recipe book for Performance Enhancing Meals & Snacks for Young Athletes

  • All attendees get 15% off coupon for future individual consultations for themselves or their athletes


Holistic Nutrition for Sports Performance & Physical Education Classes

These presentations are done in a school classroom setting and are geared to high school aged students. The content is similar in nature to presentations done for teams but can be varied based on the requests of the Teacher. The content can be presented during one class, or can be spread over two or three days. A multi-day format allows for more in depth discussion of stress and recovery, introduction to breathing and meditation as recovery practices as well as an assessment of current nutritional status and identifying where changes could be made to enhance health and performance. 


Copyright Diane Johnson Wellness Consulting 2019

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