It’s a common myth to believe that all athletes are healthy, but the truth is that some struggle with their weight.
This article addresses underweight youth athletes, from causes of being underweight to nutrition for better weight gain.
Some parents and athletes want to know the healthiest way to gain weight. While our country tends to focus on the overweight aspect, young athletes who are underweight can also be troublesome. Underweight athletes struggle to reach their full potential.
Children and adolescents usually go through growth’s natural ups and downs, so there is little to worry about.
But growing athletes must strike a delicate balance between meeting the nutritional needs of their sport and meeting the energy they need for growth.
For some young athletes, this is a constant struggle.
Unparalleled energy requirements may be due to the rigor of regular exercise, high energy requirements associated with growth spikes, inadequate diet, or inadequate diet. When young athletes lose weight and become too thin, they miss out on calories and nutrients.
As a result, athletic performance, growth, and overall health can be compromised.
What is normal growth, and what is not?
Calories are needed for growth, as are certain sports, such as running, swimming, and rowing.
Normal growth depends on consuming enough food to meet the energy and nutrition needs for exercise and growth. Normal growth in young athletes depends on consuming sufficient amounts of food to meet the energy and nutritional needs for exercise and growth. Normal growth is fairly constant.
You can determine if your athlete is growing normally by checking your body mass index (BMI).
It should be stable along an established and predictable curve.
Good eating habits to promote weight gain
A normal diet for a school-age athlete usually consists of three meals and two to three snacks daily.
Teenagers, especially men, need more calories during the pubertal growth spurt. Teenagers who exercise regularly most days of the week and exercise for several hours may need up to four meals and 1-2 snacks per day.
Best weight gain diet plan for skinny teens
The best weight gain plan addresses food choices and the structure an athlete eats.
Here are five tips to help underweight teenage athletes gain weight.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet for healthy weight gain
A balanced and healthy diet is important for underweight athletes to gain weight.
Try to include all food groups so that nutrients are present consistently throughout the day.
Add the following:
- Protein foods(eggs,lean meats,fish,beans,)
- Whole grain products(whole grain bread,cereal,oatmeal,)
- Dairy products(milk,yogurt,cheese)or fortified non-dairy substitutes
- Vegetables(green beans,carrots,corn)
- healthy fats(olive oil,nuts,avocado,peanut butter)
- Try to include atleast 4-5 food groups in your main meals
2. Snack more to improve nutrition
Considering the food groups above, offer 2-3 of these as a snack.
For example, cereal, fruit, milk, nut butter, crackers, and raisins are examples of hearty, nutritious snacks.
Our list of healthy snacks for athletes has even more ideas.
Don’t let snacks ruin a young athlete’s workout. Don’t forget to create a power snack by adding protein foods that help satisfy the athlete’s appetite for longer periods than carb-based snacks alone.
Health drinks have a purpose
Water is great for everyone, but underweight athletes should be sure to drink beverages that contain both calories and nutrients.
Drinking milk and dairy-free alternatives, 100% juices, smoothies, and breakfast drinks is an easy way to add calories and nutrients.
Start Snacking Before Bed for Extra Calories
Eating a nutritious and healthy snack before bed can help underweight athletes get extra calories that aren’t burned during sleep. Please try the following:
- peanut butter toast
- whole milk instant pudding
- A cup of low-carb granola
Use fat to pack more calories
Adding healthy fats to an underweight athlete’s regular diet can help pack in more calories.
It also reduces the pressure and requirement to eat larger or larger portions. These are some examples of adding extra calories to foods.
Add margarine, mayonnaise, and avocado to your sandwich Cooked ‘double dress’ pasta (tossed in olive oil and brushed with butter or soft olive oil)
Sprinkle cheese on the appetizer.
If young athletes are underweight, they need to know how to gain weight. The goal is to balance the nutritional needs for growth and exercise. Being underweight can cause severe diseases if the exercises are hard and the intake is less. This is a serious issue that can, later on, cause severe problems.