Having young athletes playing at a high level of sport, the focus is usually on their nutrition and ensuring they’re well fuelled for their training and games. And this often comes at the expense of your own nutrition, especially when so much of your time is dedicated to driving them to and from practice and spending weekends cheering them on.
But good nutrition is just as important for parents as it is for teen athletes!
With hectic work and home schedules and hours spent supporting your child in their sport each day, it can often be hard to find time to prioritise your own nutrition. But good nutrition is going to be key to your health and well-being and achieving this balance. The healthier you are, the more energy you will have and the better you can support your youth athlete and the rest of the family.
Just as your youth athlete will need to fuel well to stay healthy, the same goes for parents too. Ensuring you eat a healthy and balanced diet will help to keep your energy levels high, so you’re better equipped to handle the stress and challenges that life throws at you.
Balance & Variety
While the idea of fuelling well to stay healthy is just the same as for youth athletes, the kinds of foods you need to eat will be slightly different. Balance and variety should be the cornerstones of good nutrition for parents. Whole grain carbs, lean proteins and unsaturated fats like nuts, seeds, avocados and oils should be included in each meal. Getting in your 5-a-day is just as important for adults as it for children, so be sure to include plenty of different fruit and veg in your meals and snacks too.
When you eat is often just as important as what you eat so having a regular eating schedule is also going to be important too. Eating distracted or on the go can affect your digestion and can cause bloating and stomach discomfort, as well as making you more likely to snack on unhealthy foods. Making time to sit down to regular meals and not just grabbing what you can on the go will make a big impact to your overall health and well-being, so try to find some time for each meal to relax and enjoy it.
Not only is a nutritious and balanced diet essential to good health, but it also sets an example to your children and helps them to develop good eating habits for later life too. Parents are the biggest role models when it comes to diet and nutrition, especially for children under 12 , so prioritising eating well and establishing a good relationship with food will set the standards for them and encourage them to eat well too.
Remember; nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated for parents or athletes! A varied and balanced diet with plenty of fruit and veg and hydrating well is all it takes to support your health and well-being.
Savage, J., Fisher, J. and Birch, L., 2007. Parental Influence on Eating Behavior: Conception to Adolescence. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 35(1), pp.22-34.