Not only is it important for athletes to eat healthy, its important that they see their parents and coaches do the same. The old adage “Do as I say not as I do” does not apply with healthy eating habits. Parents and coaches need to apply these tips into their eating routine.
First, include one fruit or veggie per meal including snacks. Most nutritionists believe you should have 4 servings of vegetables and 3 servings of fruit a day. Although individual needs of individuals may vary this is a very good rule of thumb. Vegetables and fruit provide necessary vitamins and minerals that your body needs. In addition many provide high fiber content which aids in your body’s digestion. This can make your feel full longer reducing the need to overeat.
Smoothies can provide a convenient way to get your fruits and vegetables each day. Add berries and kale, spinach or power greens to your favorite shake. This is an easy way to get your veggies because smoothies are easy to make and create a healthy habit.
Try these delicious snacks.
Kale chips/ baked beet chips
Carrots, cucumbers or bell peppers with hummus
Plain yogurt with berries, you may add a tsp of honey or maple syrup
Broccoli in all form shapes and sizes
Sweet potato air fries
Apples or celery with peanut or almond butter
Dried fruit such as mango, apples, or pineapple
Nuts such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts mixed with cranberries or raisins
Second, find ways other than eating to cope with your emotions. Our emotional ties to food are so strong! They begin at birth when food is given not only as a meal, but often to comfort a baby in stress. This continues through our life when our emotions are tied to what we eat. This can be happy emotions tied to events such as cake and ice cream at birthdays or Thanksgiving dinner with family. Food can also be used for comfort when sad or stressed. It is important to change this habit and look for ways to celebrate and comfort ourselves without food. Otherwise, using food can negatively impact your health.
Learn to celebrate your accomplishments with a non food activity such as a massage, a weekend away, purchasing a gift for yourself such as a purse, shoes or clothes. If you have had a difficult day try journaling, taking a walk, a warm bath, or calling a friend. Despite how you feel, keep your eating normal while you celebrate successes or a difficult day other ways.
And finally, stop copying other peoples diets!! You are unique. Learn your own body and how to create the right eating habits for you. Consult with a nutritionist to develop the right plan for you.