Nutrition Tips From Emma
I really enjoy working with adolescent athletes & keen sports players, I find they have good enthusiasm and are quite impressionable. When it comes to nutrition there is usually plenty to learn to improve performance and overall health. I was at the AIMS games this year stationed at the Fonterra bike blender set up and spent a lot of time talking with players, parents & coaches about nutrition.
Here are some key messages I give to adolescents who come to me for nutrition advice
1. Take ownership of your diet, it’s your body that you need to fuel and nourish, and it’s a big asset if your dreams are to go far. It’s not mum or dads job to own your diet, they are there to support you.
2. If your food choices are an afterthought, then you are limiting your performance. You need to be thinking about when your trainings/games/events are, and how much activity you are doing in a day. Eat more food on days with more activity (longer sessions or greater intensity sessions or multiple sessions, additional PE or lunchtime sports)
3. In the weekend, sit down and with a weekly planner write down what you have on for the week in regards to training sessions / games / events and write down what you will take as extras to eat before and/or after those sessions. This is being intentional about fuelling and recovering from your trainings and it will help minimise injury risk.
4. Water. Use a water bottle & avoid reliance on school fountains.
5. Either do the grocery shop with your parent/caregiver, or ask them what they are buying, and give some input of nourishing options. Plenty of fresh/frozen fruit & veg, nuts/seeds, lean meat, eggs, milk, yoghurt, peanut butter/nut butter, oats, weetbix are good staples to have in your household. You can make smoothies, slices that don’t require baking, muesli and good snacks with these foods and they are nourishing options.
6. Ditch the protein bars and protein powders. I get that they are convenient, but they are also not necessary, if you are eating plenty of the foods listed above across 3 main meals and 3 snacks, chances are you will be doing just fine with your protein intake.
7. Experiment in the kitchen. This comes with taking ownership of your diet, it also gives mum or dad one less thing to do for you. Try out some of the bliss balls & slices from this blog: https://mykidslickthebowl.com/
8. Eat your veges & try new ones. This helps you maintain a good micronutrient intake to keep your immune system strong and less susceptible to sickness.