It’s no surprise that many Dads are involved in their child’s sports. Whether they decide to coach the team, be a manager, or simply support their kids through the trials and triumphs of minor sport, it's wonderful when dads can be there for their kids, cheering them on at every game.
Skills and drills are an essential part of development and very often, the main focus. But what about nutrition? Young athletes, no matter their age and level of play, can benefit from learning how to fuel their bodies for sport.
Here’s how Dads can support their kids nutrition, so they can get ahead of the game!
Be an Example
This seems obvious, but as a Dad, you are their first role model! They look to you for everything, including what to eat. This isn’t the time for “Do as I say, not as I do”. Show them how you fuel up with fruits, vegetables, and real, whole foods. Bring healthy snacks to the game instead of buying food at the concession stand, or bring healthy snacks to have together after the game.
Get them involved
Making a pre-game meal? Get your kids in the kitchen and make it together! You can have fun customizing smoothies or talking about why certain foods provide energy and how others can drag you down. Make it a competition-who can add the most colours into their smoothie? Or who can get all their ingredients together the fastest?
Encourage the Healthy Stuff
I know, I know. It’s fun to bring donuts to the rink or ice cream to the field, but we want our kids to learn how to fuel their bodies with the good stuff! Encourage the whole team to eat well by bringing sliced fruit or homemade energy bites, and leave the treats for later. Play at the park
instead of making the final destination all about food. Be active together and enjoy those moments.
Busy schedules means rushing around and if we’re not prepared with snacks, it’s easy to depend on packaged or fast food on the way to practice. Having the right foods on hand is key to developing a healthy relationship with food when it comes to sports. Something as simple as a banana can be the perfect pre-game fuel! Make sure you’re stocked up, especially during the busy sport season!
Have Treats and have FUN!
Kids are KIDS and of course, they should have treats! And so should we! When we encourage our young athletes to eat well to fuel their bodies, we can also demonstrate the right times to kick back, relax, and treat ourselves. Whether you go for an ice cream cone, or have a burger and fries, it can all be part of a healthy and balanced diet that promotes eating well and fuelling our bodies. Modelling this behaviour is the best way to show our kids a realistic and sustainable way to be healthy, and this benefits everyone in the family.
The relationship that kids have with their Dads is special, and it doesn’t have to be centered around food. Having fun and enjoying the moments together is the most important part of sport. Enjoy watching them play, because they’ll be driving themselves to practice before you know it- and you’ll be confident, knowing they can fuel themselves and that they learned how to do it all from you.