Healthy snacks.

Jul 01, 2015 / Sports Medicine

Is water enough for your young athlete today?

Water is the “go-to” drink to keep young and growing athletes hydrated for optimal performance.  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 playing 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?
All of these are reasons 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.  

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.

Here are some suggestions to have on hand:
  • Sports drinks
  • Broth-based soups
  • Vegetable or tomato juice
  • Pretzels or salty crackers
  • Pickles
  • String cheese
  • Yogurt
Talk with your young athlete about when to reach for these salty snacks; 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 (English / Spanish) on hydration for young athletes.

For information about our Center for Excellence in Sports Medicine, please visit our website at scottishritehospital.org/sports

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