The vegetarian has skate practice at 5 p.m. The carnivore has a lacrosse game at 7. And you can barely remember when you weren't buying protein bars by the carton. The care and feeding of a young athlete, you've discovered, is yet another full-time job—that is, if you can get your child to sit still long enough to eat.
Your job as "nutrition coach" actually requires a little thought. "Kids are not just little adults," says Natalie Digate Muth, M.D., M.P.H., RD, a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise, and a pediatrics resident at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA. "They should really try to let their own feelings of hunger be their guide, then choose nutrient-dense snacks and meals." That's where you come in: Although kids are getting savvier about nutrition, hunger doesn't always distinguish between a bag of cheese curls and a whole grain protein bar. You do. These tips will help you pack your table (and your car) with the fuel your action-loving kids need.