Eating a smart and ‘clean’ diet is undoubtedly one of the most important lessons you can teach your youth football athletes. This education will craft the building blocks necessary for them to play exceptionally well and, more importantly, have long and healthy lives. On the football field, the right diet will help increase energy levels and improve recovery time. If performance is important to you as a parent or coach- do not ignore proper nutrition.
A rule of thumb: Get to know what your kids eat, if you can’t pronounce it, they shouldn’t be eating it.
Today, with the various food chemicals, preservatives, steroids, hormones and pesticides in our food supply, train your kids to be selective. Just as you want to protect your child with the latest in football equipment- nourish your kids with the healthiest nutritional choices.
Supermarket food shopping is a key period for every family, as it is the food selection time that sets the tone for eating habits. Sounds obvious right? For me it is simple, I limit my junk food purchasing to just one or at maximum two choices for the entire week. The basis of my snacking will be on fresh fruits like organic apples, bananas, blackberries and other natural choices. Learn to limit empty calorie intake, remember junk foods = junk and will not help to improve your child’s performance on the football field.
As human beings, we are calorie junkies having an unstoppable desire to satisfy our taste buds. This is how we are programmed. Teach your kids to train their taste buds just as they train for sports, or intently study for the classroom. Instill habits in your kids to appreciate and develop a consistent, and selective attitude for choosing the best foods on the planet.
Key foods you should be purchasing (replace junk foods with these for a clean diet):
- Berries are packed with nutrients, and should be incorporated into every athlete’s nutrition routine.
- Bananas will boost you. A nutritional 100 calorie snack that satisfies you much more than a candy bar.
- Avocados are vitamin rich! These fruits have approximately 20 different vitamins inside, with the good fats.
Parents and coaches, this starts with you, your kids will follow your lead. Optimize your food choices and be the role model to guide their development.