Nutrition for teen gymnast?
My daughter, 14, is a competitive gymnast. She trains 24 hours per week. This is made up of an hour of heavy conditioning 6 days a week, plus training on floor, bars, vault and beam every day. She also runs 30 minutes two days a week.
My daughter, like all the high-level kids at her gym, is rock solid muscle: 5', 100 pounds, fierce. And I always struggle with what and how much and when to feed her. All of the conventional wisdom says to feed the kids a very high carb diet for plenty of energy. I want to make sure she has all the food and nutrition she needs, but loading up on sugar and starches goes against everything I believe is important for nutrition.
I am a low carb lifer -- under 20 net carbs pretty much every day, for the past 5+ years. (I have low carbed for closer to ten years, but I finally landed on what works best for me about 5 years ago.) I have always fed my kids moderate carb diets, not low, but making sure they get plenty of protein and healthy fats.
I'm wondering if anyone knows resources for lower-carb nutrition for youth athletes? Advice? Thoughts?
The older she gets, the more criticism I receive for what I feed her, and specifically that I don't feed her enough carbs. My only goal is her health, not weight loss or gain or anything about that at all.
In a day, she will tend to eat:
breakfast: oatmeal with apple/walnuts and a sausage patty
lunch: sliced turkey (2-3 ounces), baby carrots, apple sauce pouch, beef jerky stick, cashews. Occasionally a greek yogurt cup.
preworkout snack: peanut butter crackers and mango, or a couple of meatballs and grapes, or nuts and dried fruit, or she makes her own protein bars with peanut butter, protein powder, flax, nuts and dried fruit.
Dinner: protein (8+ ounces poached salmon, pork chops, steak), rice or couscous, a cooked veggie, a piece of fruit.
Typically we only drink water, but maybe once a week she will drink a coconut water.
If she gets fast food, she tends to go for chick fil a sandwich and a side of extra nuggets instead of fries.
Do athletes, or kid/teen athletes, really need more carbs? Just when I silenced the furor over not feeding my kids milk, the "but she needs the sugar for energy" choruses begin.