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Recovery from Exercise in Sports Nutrition

February 27, 2019

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today, we're talking about recovery from exercise and sports nutrition. Hello, I'm Amy Taylor Myers, and welcome to Farm and Family. Today, we're speaking with Chandler Knox, Dietetic Intern at Mississippi State University. So, today, Chandler, you want to talk about sports nutrition, and more specifically, how to properly recover from a game or exercise. Thank you for being with us today.

Chandler Knox: Thank you for having me. This is a great opportunity to be here today.

Amy Myers: So, with sports nutrition being such a big part of our culture and with participation beginning at earlier and earlier ages, it is important, now more than ever, for us to know how to do it right. Could you talk to me about what it means to recover from a game or exercise?

Chandler Knox: That is a great question. While at practice or a game, and the body uses water and energy to perform whatever task is at hand, whether that be shooting a basketball, running the bases around the baseball diamond, blocking on the football field, kicking the soccer ball, or spiking the volleyball. All of these things require water and energy, while recovery is a term that describes the act of replenishing those losses of water and energy used. So, recovery is re-hydrating and eating properly to let your body get ready again for the next practice or game.

Amy Myers: Okay. That's really interesting. In regard to youth sports, this would be a snack duties that seem to follow every game?

Chandler Knox: Absolutely. It is easy for get that recovery matters even in youth sports, but that is a great example of where recovery can take place. However, oftentimes, with these snack duties, parents might provide things like candy bars, chips, cookies, sodas, or full-sized sports drinks to children, or drop by by the closest fast food joint on the way home. While technically this would be providing recovery and nutrition back to the body, these choices are not the best options.

Amy Myers: You're right. I have noticed the snacks after youth sports often include things like chips and sodas. Why do you think these options may not be the best for children?

Chandler Knox: Well, in moderation, these options are fine. Say, maybe they just won a key game, and you want to throw a pizza party. That's completely fine. However, consistently providing young children with these poor choices like chips, soda, or fast food after the game sets them up to associate the two together. We just got done playing a game so I get to indulge and these kinds of foods. This association of having chips, soda, or fast food after every game can lead to poor habits as the children continue to grow and engage in more and more competitive sports.

Amy Myers: Oh. I see what you're saying. They will begin to think that since we had a soccer game today, that means I get to have a kids meal at a fast food joint on the way home, or someone's parents will bring something like chips and soda and soft drinks.

Chandler Knox: Correct. Or at least that's the risk. So, some things that parents on snack duty should begin to bring for those post-game snacks are items like carrots, apples, bananas, or other fruits and vegetables. Also, things like peanut butter crackers or cheese sticks. Always include water or a small-size sports drink that is low in sugar. That will be fine. For those games that end right at lunch time, bring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with apple slices, turkey and cheese sandwiches with baby carrots. Just make sure that bread is on whole grain, and that is a fantastic post-game meal. These will provide necessary nutrients for recovery and create a positive association that will lead to good habits.

Amy Myers: Those are really great ideas. So, what is the takeaway point that parents need to know to help their children that participate in youth sports?

Chandler Knox: Amy, there are three key things to remember. First, plan ahead. That is the real key to success. This may mean getting up a little earlier to make those sandwiches. Second, start with your family. Make small changes. When it's your turn to bring post-game snacks for your children's team, set examples by bringing fruits and vegetable options like apples, bananas, or carrots. Also, avoid quick and easy fast food options for post-game lunch and dinner. Make the PB and J or the turkey and cheese sandwich on whole grain bread instead. Third, once you are comfortable with these new habits, communicate with other parents about these healthier options, and try to begin to change with bigger ripples. Eventually, aim to change the post-game snack culture at your youth sports and your community.

Amy Myers: Okay. Good deal. And on the jelly, the peanut butter and jelly, there is such thing as the sugar-free preserves and sugar-free jams, isn't there?

Chandler Knox: Yes.

Amy Myers: And can you point us to any specific resources on this topic?

Chandler Knox: You can always call your local extension office and asked to speak to your agent responsible for family and consumer sciences. They will be able to provide you with more ideas and get you a little bit more detail. You can also check out and search Esports.

Amy Myers: Today we've been speaking with Chandler Knox, Mississippi State University Dietetic Intern. I'm Amy Taylor Myers, and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion

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