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Nutrition just as important as fitness for youth

While the benefits of physical activity and fitness for youth is pertinent, children and teens heading back to school this year will need to pay just as much attention to proper nutrition. Those in youth sports are one step ahead of some children who are not physically active at all, and consuming the right amount of vitamins and nutrients can help them both in the classroom and on the field.

Schools across the nation are opting for healthier lunch and snack options, as processed foods and typical foot court items are high in sodium, fat and sugar. These foods slow down the body and the mind, making it more difficult for kids to reach their maximum potential.

"It is imperative that children have access to healthy nutrition options, and are introduced to physical fitness routines at an early age," Jackie Thurnau, early childhood and afterschool specialist at YMCA of the USA told the Idaho State Journal. "A few simple strategies can help give kids the nutrition they need while encouraging healthy, active play afterschool."

Arm your kids with fruits and vegetables as snacks, rather than a bag of potato chips or crackers. And unless they are spending hours on the football field, it's best for them to stick to water instead of sugary sports drinks. Even at home, prepare meals that include healthy portions of whole foods.

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