By Adrian Schirr
There’s nothing better than watching my son hit the ball that earned the winning run, sac the quarterback, or sink that game-winning basket. It’s exhilarating. It’s every kind of thrill you can imagine, but when he’s losing, when he’s exhausted and struggling, being the mother of an athlete can be downright worrisome.
These are not the games to forget with a good night’s sleep. They are the games to pay attention to because they mean that there’s something lacking in your young athlete’s diet. Don’t know where to begin? Nuview Nutrition has the plan to fuel their body for optimal performance.
Other than sweat, it seems there’s a common trend among every field and court: snacks. While the good intentions of sharing are there, the good results are not. Like a car before it hits the track at NASCAR, athletes need fuel. Unfortunately, that fuel usually comes in the form of processed sugar.
I don’t want to be the mother who yells across the field, “Put that doughnut down!” On the other hand, I don’t want to be the mother of the sleepy second baseman who missed a simple play all because of a sugar crash. I want to be the mother of the athlete full of energy, free from nutritional stress.
The added sugar and bad carbs are all over, hidden in the Gatorade athletes use for hydration and the sugar bars masked as protein. Sometimes they’re out in the open, laced throughout the mini bags of Oreos and the bulk box of chips that gets passed around between the games at a double header.
At the dinner table, we push the veggies and the protein. We threaten bedtime, privileges, and hold dessert hostage until they gobble every bite. Why? Because it’s good for them, of course. Then why do we allow our children to eat everything that’s bad for them in the moments when they need it most?
The answer is simple: many of us do not understand nutritional stress and how it affects energy. Beyond talent, energy is the most essential tool that an athlete can bring to the field. It doesn’t only come from the broccoli he ate the day before. It comes from what he consumes before, during, and even after he performs.
Yes, we are busy. The warm weather isn’t the only thing that summer brings. For me, it seems as though my calendar takes a beating with baseball tournaments, weight lifting, and football and basketball camps. There are times when I’m running on a field in heels because I barely had time to pull into my driveway after work to get my son and go. Believe me, we all feel it, and we know the convenience of grabbing the bright blue bottle and bag of chips for them to have something—anything—to get their bellies through the next few hours.
I get it, but stop. You aren’t getting them through; you’re limiting their performance. There are alternative solutions that are even more convenient than a bottle of sugar and a bag of processed carbs.
Simple, performance-boosting snacks that satisfy hunger and get your athlete through are easy to prepare for the week.
Superseeds like chia seeds are known as a “warrior food” because it’s our highest plant-based source of protein. These little seeds are easy to sneak into a cup of Greek yogurt with berries, which are high in antioxidants and support recovery. Roll up a few slices of Boar’s Head chicken breast, and even wrap it around an organic string cheese for a quick fix of protein. Find a recipe for no-bake energy bites: almond butter for protein, oats, dark chocolate, and organic dates, which are high in glucose and good for the muscles. Separate snacks into servings and make up a week’s worth of baggies.
Instead of the highly processed Gatorade, coconut water is a great way to replenish those natural sugars and electrolytes that your athlete sweats out. If it’s too sweet for them, mix a cup of it with plain old water. Pack the cooler the night before and have it ready to easily grab and go.
For after a game, vegetables help alkalize the body and support recovery. Cruciferous vegetables, like kale and collard greens, are extremely high in vitamins and minerals. Is it a feat to get your athlete to eat their greens? I simply sneak a handful or two in my son’s nightly protein shake and he is none the wiser.
So, how do you know that what you’re doing is enough? How do you teach without nagging your athlete? For me, because my son has a hard time eating most meats, I’m always fearful that he isn’t getting enough protein. The not knowing part of it all is the biggest stressor. When considering that our children just don’t listen to us like they would a professional, everything combined can be quite unnerving.
For more information click here (Nuview Nutrition).