Player Nutrition for Youth Basketball

Keeping Players Active and Healthy

Your kids are active and enjoying basketball, which is so healthy for their growing bodies. Make sure they are getting the foods they need before, during and after every basketball event or activity. This is important to keep them healthy, but also to give them the energy they need to perform well. Here are some helpful tips…

Before the Event

You need to make sure your child is getting all the nutrients they need to play active and healthy, so here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Give your child a full meal two hours before physical activities. They do not need a full meal directly before play or basketball.
  • Make sure this meal is full of protein and veggies. Avoid sugary snacks. Water is the best drink right now although fruit juice would be okay also.
  • A small snack before the event is okay, but stick to vegetables or fruits. (a banana is a great choice)
After the Event

After the basketball event, your child will also need a healthy, full meal that includes lots of proteins and fiber so that their muscles can recover. Choose lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and breads. Water or fruit juice is the best thing to drink.


Of course, your child needs snacks throughout the day. If their full meal before basketball activity is far away from the actual event, give them a small snack like a banana or apple. During the activities, you may wish to bring snacks for break times, but choose things like trail mix or fruits.


Throughout the day, water is the best thing for kids to drink. Other options before and after a basketball event include 100% fruit juice and milk. During the basketball activities, you can choose between water and sports drinks, which include electrolytes. Just make sure you keep plenty of beverages on-hand during events. Your child needs to stay hydrated!

Things to Avoid

To make sure your child stays healthy and ready to get out on the court, you certainly will want to avoid certain things:

  • Do NOT give your child sugary sweets before or during a basketball event. These empty calories can slow them down and sap their energy.
  • Do NOT give your child protein bars or energy bars during a sports activity. These bars are loaded with fat and calories that will not be digested in time to turn into energy.
  • Do NOT give your child soda or flavored fruit drinks before or during a basketball event. They are full of sugar and won’t help them at all. A sugar high always comes with a sugar crash.
  • Do NOT fill their diet with fiber before a sporting event. Fiber is slow to process and won’t leave room for energy filled proteins and vegetables.

When you provide your child with the right diet before, during, and after their basketball event, they will have more energy on the field and will be healthier overall. Make sure you follow these suggestions and always choose fruits and vegetables over fiber and sugars to make sure they get the energy sources their bodies need.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: Keep your child hydrated during activity because dehydration can lead to a number of dangerous side effects.

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