Healthy Food Choices for Young Athletes: A Parent’s Role


The link between good nutrition and improved athletic performance is undisputed. 

As parents, you basically call the shots here. You are responsible for the weekly food shop and what goes on that list. By deciding what to buy (and, importantly, what not to buy!), you’re determining the nutritional quality of not only your athlete’s diet.

Key Fact - the food shop is one of the most impactful ways you can support your athlete.

Realising the link between nutrition and physical performance can suddenly make your choices quite a responsibility! But we're not just catering for the athlete in the house. There's the rest of the family to consider.

For any parent, having to prepare different meals for different family members is an absolute pain. By far, the best approach is to find meals you all like and then think of ways to make them healthier by replacing the less healthy ingredients with healthier alternatives. Simply adding a good variety of vegetables to each meal can significantly increase its nutritional benefits.


Yes, we get it: ‘inflicting’ healthy foods on the entire family may be met with resistance, especially from siblings, who'll be the first to kick off if their own food options are suddenly changed all because of their brother/sister’s obsession with sport. Here are some tips if this sounds like your household:

  • the subtle or discrete approach might have to be deployed. 

  • Gradually introduce new, healthier options.

  • Gradually reduce the not-so-healthy options.

  • It's probably better not to call a food ‘healthy’… even the word can result in resistance!

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a bit of deception, either!! Joe had no idea the spaghetti bolognese he loved contained lentils for added protein or that he was consuming the spinach and kale that he apparently 'hated' smuggled into other recipes!! 

Let's face it, improving your athlete's performance and family's health with a better diet is a win-win situation for everyone.



If you want to go the extra mile to help your child achieve their sporting dreams, The Athlete Parent Place has created something just for you. 

We've teamed up with experts, professional athletes, and parents who have already 'been there' to create The Ultimate Guide To Athlete Parenting, where you can access guidance on nutrition, sleep, psychology, and much more. Why not take a look?





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