With Christmas right around the corner, we’ve put together 12 simple tips to help youth athletes to keep on track with training and nutrition, while still making the most of the festive period too!
1. Plan Ahead
Set yourself up for success this festive period! It’s easy to lose track of your nutrition and training with the excitement of Christmas. Plan your training sessions and meals ahead of time to keep the good habits going, especially when you’re much busier than normal.
2. Don’t Restrict
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying yourself over the Christmas period. Not only have you worked hard in training all year, but 2020 has been a challenge for everyone. Being too strict with your diet and not letting yourself enjoy any treats can easily backfire. Allow yourself some time to rest and recharge and enjoy the foods you love with family and friends. Remember: there’s no such thing as ‘good’ or bad ‘foods’, just optimum times to enjoy them.
3. Keep active
With the change of routine over Christmas and some likely time off from your normal training sessions, it’s easy to lose track of your exercise. Swap your gym sessions for walks with the family to stay active this Christmas and you’ll not only see the benefits when you get back to training, but you’ll feel better mentally too.
Stress isn’t good for your health, performance or nutrition habits. It’s so easy to reach for the box of chocolates after a tough day, even more so with hectic schedules during the festive season. So, to stop the stress levels from rising and to keep your nutrition and health on track, make sure you find time to relax and wind down. Giving your body time to recover and repair will make sure you’re in top form, mentally and physically, for when the season gets back underway.
5. Eat Mindfully
Christmas is all about big meals and family get-togethers and it’s the perfect time enjoy the foods you love in good company. Enjoy the meals you eat and don’t rush through your food. Take your time with eating and you’ll be less likely to overindulge or lose track of your good nutrition habits.
6. Listen to Your Body
Your body knows best whether its hungry or full. Tune in to what your guts telling you to avoid over or under eating at mealtimes. Remember to only eat until your full, and not necessarily till the plate is empty!
7. Add the Good Stuff First
Always start with the healthy stuff first. Be sure to pile your plates high with protein-packed Turkey and other meats first, especially on Christmas day. If you’re staying active and working out, don’t forget the carbs like potatoes and parsnips too. Once you ticked them off, add in the rest of your festive favourites because you can’t forget the pigs in blankets!
8. Don’t Forget the Veg
Christmas is full of delicious food like mince pies, Christmas puddings and pigs in blankets. And when you’re surrounded by food like that every day it’s easy to forget about the veg. Keep your fruit and veg intake high to make sure your bodies getting all of the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy.
9. Stay Hydrated
With Christmas nutrition, the focus is always on food. But don’t forget how important it is to stay hydrated for health and performance too. Carry your water bottle and sip on it throughout the day. Or drink fruit juices or winter teas too for something a little tastier.
10. Snack Smarter
Christmas and sweet treats go hand in hand. You can’t go anywhere without a tub of quality street in reaching distance and this is what usually gets us rather than the main meals when it comes to Christmas nutrition. While they might taste amazing and be exactly what you want to eat, remember they can be high in sugar and fat and low in the other nutrients that are essential for athletes. So, while you should certainly enjoy a few Christmas chocolate’s, try not to eat the whole tub!
11. Find a Balance
Nutrition doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, we’re not even sure there’s such a thing as ‘perfect nutrition’! It’s all about balancing your regular habits with the things you enjoy, and Christmas time is no different. You’re much more likely to stick to your plan if you enjoy it. Eat plenty of food to support your normal sports performance and add in the foods you love around your training schedule too.
12. Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas to all of the Youth Athletes from everyone at YSN!