Salty snacks to stay hydrated

Dec 14, 2017 / Sports Medicine

Does your young athlete need a salty snack?

Water is the “go-to” drink to keep young and growing athletes hydrated for optimal performance in indoor and outdoor sports. However, sometimes water just isn’t enough to replace electrolytes lost through sweating.  

If your young athlete answers yes to any of these questions, he or she may need more than water: 
  • Are you going to be participating in a high–intensity activity, lasting longer than an hour?
  • Do you feel salt on your skin after activity?
  • Do you see salt on your clothes after activity?
  • Are you going to be participating in back–to–back events or tournaments?
  • Are you going to be playing in hot or humid conditions, either indoors or outdoors?
  • Do you have a hard time drinking extra fluids on practice and game days?
Answering yes to any of these questions means your young athlete may need to supplement a water hydration plan with sports drinks or salty snacks. Incorporating these throughout the day ensures optimal safety, health and performance during each practice and game.  

Keep these on hand for as hydration supplements:
  • Sports drinks
  • Broth-based soups
  • Vegetable or tomato juice
  • Pretzels or salty crackers
  • Pickles
  • String cheese
  • Yogurt
The sodium in these items helps to keep water in the body, replaces lost electrolytes and also stimulates thirst.  Thirst encourages the athlete to drink more fluids than he or she may do naturally.

Talk with your young athlete about when to reach for these salty snacks; because enjoying them too often can lead to other problems. Your child’s pediatrician or sports dietitian can help design a nutrition plan that’s right for your young athlete.

To learn more about the best ways to hydrate, take a look at our PDF on hydration for young athletes.

For information about pediatric sports medicine and injury prevention, please visit our website at scottishritehospital.org/sports

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