FOOD and DRINK are two things we have complete control over in our lives. As athletes, we need to fuel our bodies appropriately so that we can perform to the highest levels. Think of the body like a car, and our food and drink like gas. It will not run properly if you put bad gas into it. Our bodies are the same way. If you put bad food into your body, you aren't going be able to perform well.

The USDA states that active middle school girls should be taking in somewhere between 1,800 to 2,200 calories per day. Keep in mind that these are not EMPTY calories. Empty calories are those that have no nutritional value, calories you are eating just to eat, or calories only consumed to make it to the recommended amount. The MyPlate Diagram (to the right) is a nice visual for what our food intake should look like on the actual plate. Keeping a food log is a great idea to record what is being consumed and how our bodies react to our diets. The data gathered can easily be used to decide what foods correlate to certain performance levels.

Hydration is often overlooked as well. As athletes we need to be drinking our body weight (yes our body weight) in water every day. For example, an individual who weighs 100 lbs needs to be consuming at least 100 oz of water each day. If the body is properly hydrated, the urine will be pale yellow to clear in color. If urine is yellow, dark yellow, or brown it indicates that the body is dehydrated. See the urine chart on this page for a visual. Light colors = good. Dark colors = bad.