Proper nutrition key to keep young athlete going and growing

Evan Murray
In this Sept. 25, 2015 photo, Warren Hills Regional High School quarterback Evan Murray looks over the Summit defense in Washington, N.J. Murray, a three-sport athlete, died after suffering an injury on the field, school officials said Saturday, Sept. 26. (Larry Murphy/ via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Professional athletes, like NFL and NHL stars, are often talking about nutrition, crediting what they eat with the energy to get them through the game.

It’s a healthy lifestyle the pros have help with through team nutritionists.

Those same habits can be had right at home and started early with young, athletes. Registered Dietitian Sheila Flavin says instilling healthy habits can begin as early as when a child is toddler.

When they’re heavily into sports, it’s important to pay attention to what kids are putting in their bodies.

“Nutrition is a really big part in athletics,” said Flavin.

She recommends young, active, growing boys eat between 3500 to 4000 calories a day; growing, active girls should aim for 2200 to 2600 a day.

“People will struggle with their weight if they have a balance problem; if they aren’t balancing their food intake with their activity level,” said Flavin.

That’s something the McCarthy family aims to do every night.

“It’s extremely important to us,” said Tom McCarthy, a dad to two young kids, Aidan, 12, and Abby, 6. “Especially when it comes to the kids, we want to make sure we’re raising them right, giving them the right habits and giving them the building blocks for healthy bodies in the future.”

To help pass on those healthy habits, mom, Sharon, invites the kids to help prepare meals for lunch and dinner.

“It gives them a sense of independence with some choices,” said Sharon. “I know what they’re picking, they’ll actually eat.”

The family of four prepares a well-balanced meal with protein, vegetables and carbs.

“We always feel it is the job of the parents to present healthy foods and have them available for the kids,” said Tom.

“It’s eating things that count – calories that count – good calories,” Sharon said that is something they have always remembered as the kids are growing. “They’re not coming home hungry.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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