MA Hockey Boys 5 9 (PDF)

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Title: MA Hockey Boys 5-9.docx
Author: Julie Nicoletti

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MA Hockey
Boys 5 - 9 years old
Young boys just love to play hockey. So what should parents feed
even the youngest athletes to fuel their growing bodies and to
establish healthy habits?

1. Hydration is vitally important even for young players who don’t sweat like
adolescents and teenagers.
Children are not yet tuned into their bodies. They may not be aware of how they feel or may
not be able to verbalize the symptoms of dehydration beyond feeling thirsty or maybe dizzy.
Water is the best choice for children. If they prefer it flavored, try adding sliced strawberries
and kiwi to water in an ice-cube tray. Freeze and then add the fruit containing ice cubes to the
water bottle for a delicious and appealing drink. Or squeeze an orange into water. Not only is
the vitamin C from the fruit beneficial for fighting illness, but the antioxidants from the
strawberries also are healthy.
Avoid sugary drinks, sports drinks, juice and soda. Another way to encourage young athletes to
drink plenty of water is to allow them to pick out their water bottle. Some like straw-style tops
while others prefer a squeeze bottle. Establishing a habit of bringing a water bottle with them
will serve them well for a lifetime.
Encourage and remind young players to drink often. Not just on a warm days or on game days.
Every day is a good opportunity to hydrate.

Kinetic Fuel, LLC: | 617.921.4237
940 High Street Westwood, MA 02090


2. Feed a young player real food that you recognize in as close to its natural
state as possible as often as possible and reinforce to them that real food is
good fuel for their bodies to skate and shoot… and grow into strong, smart
hockey players.
Their last big meal should be about 2-3 hours before they play, but they will need a snack 30-45
minutes beforehand. There is a misconception that children need snack food for snacks, i.e.
goldfish, crackers and cookies. They may like them, but they certainly don’t need them. Nor do
they need munchkins at the rink or bagels in the locker room. They don’t need an ice cream
cone for every goal or pizza after the game every week.
I’m all for bringing food to share with teammates, and in doing so, you can set the standard for
a healthy team culture. Offer players colorful fruit skewers, seedless watermelon balls in a cup
with a toothpick or bananas. (Note: After putting hands in gloves, you may want to also offer
hand wipes or continue to think along the lines of the suggestions above where players aren’t
touching the food with their hands.)
I’m also on board with incentivizing kids to try their best. Do that with your words by telling
them how proud you are. Or use a non-food reward, which is another good life habit to
Young athletes can benefit from proper hydration and nutrition. If a player comes off the field
and complains about a stomachache or that his head hurts, examine fueling and hydration. If
they are whiny or seem out of sorts, perhaps dehydration or low blood sugar may be the cause.
Plan ahead and stock a cooler with plenty of cold water and healthy snacks for before or after
the game. It’s never too early to be #EatingtoCompete

Kinetic Fuel, LLC: | 617.921.4237
940 High Street Westwood, MA 02090


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