As junior golfers embark on making improvements to their body and golf swing over the winter months it is important to understand the role of optimal nutrition and hydration. More specifically, I wanted to provide some guidelines on what junior golfers should be eating and what they should stay away from at breakfast.
1. Combine a quality carbohydrate with a quality protein source. The protein source is the element which most juniors miss – protein ensures athletes feel full throughout the morning and helps repair tissue broken down in training.
2. Make it Big!!! I find that most junior golfers do not leave enough time in the morning to eat before school. As a result, they typically grab something small as they are running out the door, which is typically full of sugar and low in nutrients.
3. Drink Water – we are dehydrated when we wake up in the morning as we have not had anything to drink while sleeping – junior golfers should consume 25% of their daily water intake first thing in the morning (before they leave for school).
NOTE: Daily water intake = half your body weight (lbs.) in ounces
Things to Avoid:
1. Juice beverages – tons of sugar in these; eat the orange as opposed to drinking orange juice!! As stated above, your main beverage in the morning should be water.
2. Breakfast cereals, muffins, pancakes, white bread – all of these options flood your junior athletes body with sugar and processed toxins which just set them up for a day filled with insulin high’s and low’s.
3. Skipping breakfast – this truly is the most important meal of the day, as it will dictate energy levels and food choices throughout the day.
1. Quaker Oatmeal with strawberries and blueberries (not the instant oatmeal)
2. Greek yogurt (higher protein content) with granola and fruit
3. Omelettes w/ cheese, vegetables, and piece of whole grain toast
4. Fruit smoothie + scoop of whey protein – smoothies are a great way to hide super foods such as spinach, avocado, and healthy fats which junior golfers would likely not eat.
At the beginning of the off-season I recommend that junior golfers fill out a 3-day diet log, which documents everything that they consume throughout the day (food or beverage). I have had great success in the past with this activity as creates awareness of the quality and quantity of food the athlete is using to fuel their body.