Fueling Boys to Reach Their Fullest Potential

What occurs in males’ formative years is vital to ensuring proper growth, nutrition and sustenance as they maintain an active lifestyle. Young boys in boarding schools, away from mum and dad with a lot going on across all aspects of life, are easily susceptible to falling behind the ball when it comes to making sure their nutritional needs are met. That’s why the canteen catering provider assumes this responsibility, and with the support of dietitians, are instrumental in making sure these young boys get a roadmap of nutritionally-planned meals when away from home.

The nutritional roadmap
On average, active teenage boys between the ages of 13 and 18 need 3000 to 4000 kilocalories (kcal) per day; ideally, high-quality calories from all the essential food groups for active boys. Fruits, vegetables, wholegrain breads, cereals, low-fat dairy, lean protein, and heart-healthy fats are just a handful of foods that provide necessary nutrients for young boys with active lifestyles (Rosenbloom & Klemm, 2021).

Variety is key when it comes to making sure boys’ dietary requirements and daily nutritional needs are consistently met. Rather than doubling down on one food group, incorporating all different food groups will create the roadmap to keep young boys healthy (Gavin, 2021). gather’s dietitians are constantly on the lookout for creative ways to incorporate nutrients into young boys’ meals, and to make sure that breakfast, lunch, and dinner are as contemporary and delicious as can be.

Spotting dietary deficits
Young boys who are constantly on the field, in the water, or on the courts need that little bit extra to maintain peak performance and make sure there are no nutritional deficits. gather’s in house dietitians can swiftly identify blind spots or gaps in nutrition while planning mealtimes which provides a firm foundation for nourishing young boys.

According to The Royal Children’s Hospital of Melbourne’s study in 2022, the most common sign of nutritional deficiencies are:

  • Being pale or lethargic; fatigued
  • Tooth decay
  • Poor physical growth.
  • Behavioural problems
  • Sleep issues
  • Problems with emotional and psychological development
  • Poor concentration

The above can be due to a lack of irregular meals, eating away from home, following alternative dietary patterns, and otherwise (Noor, 2009). Being a young male can be a very busy and consuming lifestyle, particularly when away from mum and dad – and so it can be hard prioritising a nutritionally-sound meal (TrueSport, 2021). As the canteen catering provider, gather and its team of dietitians make sure that our boys don’t need to think twice about whether they’re getting the proper nutrition intake when it comes to boarding school food.


Gaps in fueling boys
Nourishing teenagers can be a challenge in itself, however when it comes to young males who are active on the sports field and constantly burning energy, it’s even more important to replenish.

There are risks of many deficiencies among this demographic. The most common gap in active boys’ nutrition are carbohydrates, protein and calcium. All of which are essential when leading an athletic lifestyle, as those nutrients are swiftly utilised by the body – often before it’s even half-time…

Firstly, carbohydrates. The phrase ‘carbs are king’ rings true. They’re one of the most important nutrients for an athlete because they’re stored as fuel inside muscles ready to be released once the game or workout begins (Bede, 2009; Rosenbloom & Klemm, 2021). Restricting carbs can increase tiredness and fatigue, which can hurt performance (Gavin, 2021). Healthy carbohydrates for teens include whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds – as many of which should be incorporated day-to-day (Coleman, 2018).

Secondly, protein. The power of protein cannot be underestimated. Protein gives a solid foundation to build muscle and strength – both of which are vital on and off the field. Good sources of protein can include lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs or legumes (John Muir Health, 2022). Whether your boarding student is a wrestler, swimmer, gymnast, or otherwise, an active lifestyle can come crashing down quickly without protein to induce muscle, strength and recovery (Sports Dietitians Australia, 2022).

And finally, calcium. While it’s commonly known that calcium is essential for strong teeth and bones, it’s also vital for regulating muscle functioning, regulating heart functioning, transmitting nervous system messages, enzyme functions and more (Better Health Channel, 2022)! With 1300mg needed per day, consistently incorporating milk, yoghurt, cheese, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and more into young boys’ diets can make a world of difference (Better Health Channel, 2022).

Reaching their fullest potential
Overall, when it comes to dietary advice for boys, keeping their energy high and providing consistent points of food is vital (TrueSport, 2021). Being a young, active, adolescent male can be an exciting period but also fairly taxing, particularly for the young men in boarding schools. Making sure they’re well-supported and are fuelled to their fullest potential, is our number one priority as a canteen catering provider.

To find out more, get in touch with David O’Brien to have a quick chat about how gather can provide your students and residents with a well-rounded and connecting mealtime experience.




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