Food

5 expert tips to support athlete success this spring

(BPT) – If you have a family of athletes, you know how hectic the spring sports schedule can be. As you prepare for another busy season, focus on feeding your young athletes right to optimize their sports performance and fuel their fun!

Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner wants to help active families find their stride this year by offering five expert tips that can make a big difference in your child’s athletic performance.

1. Don’t skip breakfast

You’ve probably heard it before, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially if you play sports. “Eating breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, replenishes your energy stores, and sets the tone for the day ahead,” said Blatner. She recommends eating nourishing morning meals that include protein, carbs and healthy fats, like a quick breakfast wrap with a whole grain tortilla, avocado, spinach and eggs to fuel your muscles for whatever challenges lie ahead.

2. Eat your colors

Did you know that the color of fruits and vegetables is important to maintaining a healthy diet? Each color offers different nutrients. For example, leafy greens contain nitrates for energy, yellow/orange produce has carotenoids for healthy vision, and red produce has lycopene and anthocyanin for heart health. When putting a meal together, do a “color check.” Blatner recommends that your plate should have at least two colors at every meal.

3. Prioritize protein

Protein is power! Athletes who want to improve their strength and endurance should prioritize protein at every meal, and having protein after practice or a game is especially important. According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, eating protein after a workout promotes muscle gain and aids in recovery so your young athlete can wake up energized for the next day of activities.

4. Ensure ample time for rest and recovery

It’s crucial for young athletes to focus on recovery and rest to maintain their energy and performance levels throughout the entire sports season. Engaging in sports can lead to muscle wear and fatigue, so prioritize adequate sleep and relaxation for muscle repair, growth and a reduced risk of injury. Recovery time isn’t just physical; it also provides mental rest, which is essential for maintaining focus and motivation.

5. Stock your snacks

Athletes are constantly on the go. When time is short between practice and games, the kids may be tempted to reach for convenient but unhealthy snacks. To help your family make wholesome choices, Blatner encourages keeping grab & go snacks of nutrient-dense foods in your fridge.

A tasty, nutritious and easy snack or meal to prep and store are Veggie Chaffles (Cheese Waffles) made with Eggland’s Best eggs. Eggland’s Best eggs contain more than double the Vitamin B-12 compared to ordinary eggs, which provides a natural energy boost. They also contain more than double the Omega-3s compared to ordinary eggs, which may help reduce muscle soreness and aid in recovery after strenuous exercise.

You can make these chaffles in batches to keep as a grab-and-go snack that the kids can take straight from the fridge on the way out the door. This recipe has just three ingredients, and you can use whatever veggies your kids like, such as cauliflower, carrots or even zucchini!

Eggland’s Best Veggie Chaffles (Cheese Waffles)

Prep time: 5 minutes; Cook time: 25 minutes; Makes: 8 mini waffles

Ingredients

  • 4 Eggland’s Best Eggs, large
  • 1 cup finely chopped veggies like cauliflower or shredded zucchini
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Olive oil (for brushing)

Preparation

1. Preheat mini waffle maker.

2. In a bowl, mix together Eggland’s Best Eggs with veggies and cheese.

3. Brush waffle maker with olive oil and pour 1/4 cup egg mixture into the mini waffle maker. Close the lid and cook for 3 minutes, until golden.

4. Repeat to use the rest of the egg mixture.

Additional Notes

Eat right away or store in fridge for up to 4 days.

Eat leftovers cold, at room temperature or heat in microwave for about 20 seconds.

Time Saver: Use frozen “riced” cauliflower or other veggies so there’s no chopping required!

Using these five expert tips, you can set your athletes up for success and give their bodies the support they need to excel in their sports. To find more recipes to fuel your day, visit EgglandsBest.com.

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