- Avoid giving your kids a high-sugar snack before a practice or game. Too much sugar causes energy peaks, followed by a crashing low which leaves them tired, irritable and unable to concentrate.
- Offer your kids a healthier snack alternative, such as fruit. It’s a naturally sweet snack that also contains fiber and vitamins they need.
- Watch the high-sugar breakfasts. Kids’ cereals contain about 52 percent more sugar than adult cereals and have less protein and fiber.
- Be careful of sugar-sweetened sodas. Each 12-ounce carbonated soft drink contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories.
- Beware of fruit-flavored drinks. They often contain as much added sugar as soft drinks and also tend to be high in calories and low in valuable nutrients.
SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION
How do you know if your kids are dehydrated? One way to check hydration level is to note the color of the urine. “People who are optimally hydrated should urinate every one to two hours,” says Luigi
Gratton, M.D., M.P.H. “And tell your kids that their urine should look more like lemonade, and less like apple juice. Darker color usually means more concentrated urine, an indication that kids need to increase fluid intake.”
Watch your child for other signs and symptoms of dehydration during exercise, such as muscle cramping, or feeling light-headed, nauseated, headachy or faint. Remember, proper hydration is important for kids’ athletic performance, energy and overall health.