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  Eating Well      Your Children      Health & Wellness      Exercise for Health      Recipes
      
Your Health:
      
How to keep your Immune System healthy - Paula's Winter Defence Guide [PDF]
Recipes
Eating Well
Your Children
-Food for fussy eaters
-The effects of obesity on our children
-Children's food and nutrition
-Irish children's diets
-Food groups for children
-Lunch for children
-Lunchbox ideas
-Drinks for children
-Nutrition homework for the family
-Take our Food for Fitness test
-Food for active teenagers
Exercise for Health
Health & Wellness
Teenagers: Food to keep you active
      
How energy is produced from food
When we chew foods containing carbohydrate, fat and protein we start digesting our food. It travels from the mouth to the stomach, then around 7 metres of small intestine where it is broken down into smaller molecules and absorbed into our blood. The blood delivers the digested food to the cells and uses oxygen and certain vitamins to produce energy.

We measure energy in kilocalories (kcal) or kilojoules (kJ).

One gram of carbohydrate gives you 3.75 kcal. This is the fuel our working muscle prefers to burn. Once you run out of stores of carbohydrate you tend to run out of wind and have to stop your game or activity.
Children's Food & Nutrition

One gram of fat gives you 9 kcal. This provides double the amount of energy but the body finds it easier to store fat rather than use it as energy. That’s why it’s not the best fuel when you’re active.
      
One gram of protein gives you 4 kcal. Protein is not generally used as a fuel for sport but it’s very important to eat enough because it provides the building blocks for your muscles. So to grow well you need enough protein.
      
What can speed you up?
The right balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats.
      
What can slow you down?
Dehydration.
The wrong balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats
Lose the Fat! Exercising bodies love carbs. They find it much harder to use fat as a fuel source. Make up your sandwich without spread or mayonnaise if it already has a moist filling.
Not enough spark plugs (vitamins and minerals)
      
Move your “bod”
Do you run out of steam when you’re exercising?
Do you want to play harder, play longer, play sharper?
      
What you need to eat if you want to improve?
      
Speed
        Don’t forget your Carbs!
For peak performance give your working muscle the type of fuel it runs on best - starchy carbohydrate.
In other words – bread, baps, rolls, bagels……
For a double whammy choose brown or wholemeal versions for lots of Carbs for performance and Fibre for healthy insides
You also need protein to build strong muscle.
      
Stamina
        We need lots of iron, and girls need even more than boys. Iron helps the body make haemoglobin, the red pigment in our blood, which carries oxygen around the body.
        These are all good sources of iron:
o red meat such as beef and lamb
o breakfast cereals
o wholegrain bread
o green vegetables such as green cabbage, broccoli, spinach and dark salad leaves
o dried fruit such as apricots or raisins
o nuts and seeds such as cashews or almonds
o lentils, peas and beans, including baked beans
      
Agility and flexibility
        (calcium strong bones and joints / vitamins and minerals)
Growing bones need calcium! Calcium gives your bones strength. Eat three calcium foods (low fat yoghurt, milk and cheese) everyday if you're not yet a teenager and up to 5 servings as a teenager.
      
Concentration
        Everyone needs about 1 – 1.5 litres (6 to 8 glasses) of fluids every day.
But if you’re very active or the weather is hot, you may need to drink even more.

When you’re really rushing about exercising, you’ve probably noticed that you feel hot and sweaty.

When you sweat you lose water from the body so it’s important to drink enough. Otherwise losing so much water can zap your energy and your ability to focus on your game.

It's a good idea to drink water or other fluids throughout the day, but especially before, during, and after periods of activity. Ideally you should aim to drink approximately 1 cup (250ml) of water or fluid every 20 to 30 minutes of activity. If it’s just a short games session (less than 30 minutes) you may not have to drink during the activity, but it's important to drink water after the game to restore whatever fluid you lose through sweat during the event.

Although many sports drinks are available, usually plain water is the best thing you could drink. Sports drinks provide energy and replace electrolytes - such as sodium and potassium - that we lose in sweat. But most of us have enough carbohydrate stores to last us for a 60 minutes session of exercise. And in most cases, any lost electrolytes can be topped up again by a good meal after your sport.

If you are involved in a tournament or sport that takes longer than 60 minutes (long-distance running and biking, or a soccer or hockey tournament) then you might need to top up with snacks like bananas, diluted fruit juice or a sports drink. This is because your body can use the sugars in fruits, juices and sports drinks immediately as energy.

Best drinks include:
o water If your exercise session is up to one hour
o diluted fruit juice or diluted fruit squash or sports drink if your session is greater than an hour.
      
Eat regularly and don’t skip meals.
      
Your body needs a constant supply of energy throughout the day. When you wake up in the morning, your body has been without food for many hours, so no wonder it needs refuelling. Your body is a bit like a mobile phone – it needs recharging regularly.

Eating breakfast is really important as it will help stop your stores of energy (in the liver and your muscles) from dipping during the morning.

Breakfast can help boost your energy and set you up for the day ahead. Good choices include:
Your body needs a constant supply of energy throughout the day. When you wake up in the morning, your body has been without food for many hours, so no wonder it needs refuelling. Your body is a bit like a mobile phone – it needs recharging regularly.

Eating breakfast is really important as it will help stop your stores of energy (in the liver and your muscles) from dipping during the morning.

Breakfast can help boost your energy and set you up for the day ahead. Good choices include:
      
1.a bowl of breakfast cereal (try to choose one that is high in fibre, but low in fat, sugar and salt) with low fat milk and a glass of fruit juice
2.a boiled or poached egg and toast and a banana
3.porridge made with low fat milk and topped with fresh or dried fruit
4.a banana smoothie
      
Snack attack!
        If you’re particularly active, top up your energy between meals with a high performance energy snack
      
A high-performance snack will not only top up your energy between meals, it will also improve your concentration and focus during your exercise or team sport. We all enjoy an occasional treat snack. Make it count nutritionally.
      
-A variety of fresh fruit (banana for potassium, oranges for vitamin C)
-Low fat yoghurt (calcium and protein)
-Smoothie (vitamins and minerals)
-A small handful of nuts and raisins (iron and essential fats)
-Flavoured milk (Calcium and vitamin D)
-Chocolate raisins and nuts (Iron, essential fats, antioxidant vitamins)
-Flavoured yoghurt or milk (choose one with little or no added sugar)
-Cereal bar (carbohydrate and essential fats in nuts)
-Fruit buns, fruit cake or brack (carbohydrate and iron)
-Low fat low salt popcorn (carbohydrate and fibre)
      
      
      
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Keep in mind that research on these matters is on-going and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.
        
        
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