1. Maintain a well-balanced diet. Canada’s food guide is a good start.
2. Ensure you meet prescribed Recommended Daily Intakes (RDIs)
• Most important fuel source for brain and muscles
• Should comprise 45-65% to total caloric intake for ages 4-18
• Good sources: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, yogurt
• Important for body repair
• Should comprise 10-30% of total caloric intake for ages 4-18
• In brain injury 1-1.5 mg/kg of bodyweight/day recommended
• Good source: lean meat/poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, beans/nuts
• Absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K) for essential fatty acids
• Should comprise 25-35% to total caloric intake for ages 4-18
• Good sources: meat, fish, nuts, seeds, dairy, olive/canola oil
i. Commonly deficient: Calcium, Iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12
ii. Specific expert recommendations for brain injuries in the 1st two weeks:
• Choline-rich foods (eggs, meat, poultry, fish, cruciferous vegetables, peanuts, and dairy products)
• Creatine sources (meat, fish) or food with the amino acids used to make creatine – arginine, glycine & methionine
• Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA, EPA) or alpha-linolenic acid sources (e.g., flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil, and soy)
• Zinc sources: oysters, shellfish, liver, meat, poultry, and dairy products, whole grains, legumes, wheat germ, nuts, cereals, soy products
3. Ensure you eat enough calories
a. Specific recommendations vary on a case-by-case basis but generally:
b. Active youth may require 500-1500 cal/day more versus inactive peers
c. Strategies to achieve this can include:
• 3 meals and 3-4 snacks per day
• Engaging youth in meal planning
• Keeping a dietary journal
• Consulting a dietitian
|Calories Needed Daily|
|Age||Not active||Somewhat active||Very active|
|Not active: Not much energy out. Does only light activity needed for daily life (e.g., cooking, walking to the mailbox)
Somewhat active: Some energy out. Does physical activity equal to walking quickly for 2.4-4.8 km (about 30-40 min/day). Plus, does light activity needed for daily life.
Very active: A lot of energy out. Does physical activity equal to walking quickly for more than 4.8 km (more than 40 min/day). Plus, does light activity needed for daily life.
|Source : HHS/USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010|
4. Aim to drink about 2 L of fluid a day or more
5. Make your calories and hydration efforts count
a. Avoid empty calories (junk food, sugary foods/drinks) and caffeine, sodas and alcohol.
b. Carb-containing sports drinks can increase risk of excessive caloric consumption and dental caries and should be avoided.
c. For example, instead of cookies and chocolate, try having unsalted nuts or a peanut butter or cheese sandwich; this will decrease the simple sugar and saturated fat and increase nutritional value
6. Refrain from alcohol, smoking or illicit substance use