Your Fuel for Back to School Sports

Once summer winds down and families shift back into routine there are always two major milestones to kick off the new season: back-to-school and fall sports. They go together like cookies and milk.

In order to keep up with the rigor in the classroom, it’s important for kids to stay hydrated, well-rested and be fed a nutritious diet. When it comes to them keeping pace with fall sports—whether that be soccer, football or track and field—student athletes need to stay hydrated so they can keep up on and off the field.

How Recovery Drinks Improve Athletic Performance

Sports drinks are designed to do one thing: replace both water and electrolytes—minerals like sodium, magnesium, calcium, and potassium—that you sweat out during exercise. If you’re exercising for an hour or more, recovery beverages are a great way to replenish lost electrolytes and stay hydrated.

The sports drinks market is saturated with products that aren’t the best choice for student athletes, though. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions against kids drinking sports drinks. Unlike sugary drinks with hard-to-pronounce ingredients, milk provides countless benefits to athletes. Milk—an all-natural drink that’s been around for centuries—is a solid choice for student athletes to stay hydrated during fall sports season.

Why Milk?

Not only does milk give your body the vitamins, protein and carbohydrates it needs to refuel and energize, research shows it might even help your body stay more hydrated than sports drinks or water. It’s a nutrient-rich drink full of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • High quality protein to help build lean muscle.
  • Vitamin A, zinc and selenium to support a healthy immune system.
  • Four B vitamins — riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), and vitamin B12 — to help convert food into energy.
  • Calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and protein to build and maintain strong bones and reduce the risk for stress fractures.
  • Iodine to help regulate metabolism.
  • Potassium to help maintain normal muscle function and regulate the balance of fluids in the body.

Milk is so beneficial to athletes, major players rely on it exclusively to refuel after practice and games.

What Role does Chocolate Play?

Chocolate milk has all the benefits of regular milk, plus one extra ingredient that really quenches thirst and refuels: extra carbohydrates from added sugar. When you’re exercising for an hour or more, your body needs added carbohydrates to keep going. Drinks that are high in carbs—like a bottle of ice cold chocolate milk—will help muscles repair and recover.

High-carb beverages like chocolate milk also replenish glycogen stores—the carbohydrates your body keeps in its muscles. Glycogen is an important fuel your body relies on during fall sports season. Staying hydrated with chocolate milk after practice will help you maintain your storage through the season and take you all the way to the finish line.

1. “Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks for Children and Adolescents: Are They Appropriate?” American Academy of Pediatrics, 2011
2. “Effect of Drinking Rate on the Retention of Water or Milk Following Exercise-Induced Dehydration,” International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism , 2019.
3. Based on the 2019 DRI for potassium developed by NASEM.