Amy Dirks on Strategies to Keep You On Track During the Holidays
Nutrition information for soccer players from Amy Dirks. Discover what makes this column so different: Read Meet SoccerToday’s Nutritionist Amy Dirks – Great Info for Soccer Players of All Ages. My favorite tip? Start eating the Healthy items FIRST!
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With Thanksgiving and the holidays coming soon, athletes will be presented with delicious foods and drinks, in excessive quantities. These are special times of the year but it’s important to stay on track and understand these are moments in time and not excuses to completely fall off the wagon.
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2020 Soccer Player Holiday Survival Guide:
This will be an unprecedented holiday season as the world is still in the grip of the Coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 has disrupted our lives and turned Zoom into a new ‘normal’ way to communicate. Many soccer players have had their seasons postponed or pushed, others are competing with ever-changing schedules and game cancelations. As we celebrate all we have to be thankful for this year, here is our 2020 Soccer Player Holiday Survival Guide.
Even over the holidays, it is important that youth soccer players, as well as professional players maintain a well-balanced diet and focus on healthy choices — even if you burn more calories playing soccer than everyone else in the family, these tips can help!
1). Start the day with a Healthy Breakfast. Don’t try to “save up” your calories for later as this usually leads to over-eating.
2). If you are going somewhere else, bring a Healthy Food item with you. While most family celebrations will be small this year, if you do travel, here is a great way to keep athletic-healthy. Bring a bright green spinach salad with cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and goat cheese is easy, festive, and good for you. And, it is a great example of healthy holiday eating with style!
3). Start with the Healthy items FIRST. Choose the soup and/or salad with some turkey before you go for the carb-heavy foods such as mashed potatoes, dressing, rolls, and corn.
4). Practice Portion Control. It’s not that you can’t have those foods, but be mindful of the amount. Get enough to try them all so you don’t feel deprived but stick with 2 Tbs. or what can fit in the palm of your hand. Remember the plate method (½ veggies, ¼ protein, ¼ starch/fat).
5). Try not to Stand Around the Food while Socializing. This will lead to unnecessary munching.
6). Make sure to Stay Hydrated. Try drinking at least 2 glasses of water upon waking and 2 more before the meal. If you’re eating more calories than usual, don’t add to them by drinking too many calories.
7). If you happen to overdo it, try going for a Quick Brisk Walk. You will feel more energized and your body will use some of those calories for the physical activity. Anyone for pick up soccer on the beach or backyard?
8). Moderation — You don’t have to Skip Dessert but be mindful and get small portions. If whipped cream is available, either skip it or just have a tiny dollop.
There are many ways to celebrate without regret, and feeling the impact on the soccer field. Remember how important your diet is as an athlete and this will help you make better decisions.
Another trick: Try having a hot beverage like coffee or tea with your dessert as the hot liquid will help to fill you up faster so you eat fewer sweets.
There are usually an assortment of great teas around the holidays. Why not try an all natural apple spice tea?
9). Slow Down — Enjoy your Company just as Much as you do the Food! Eat slow, chew your food thoroughly, and make it about connecting more than indulging.
10). Most Importantly, jump back on the Wagon Immediately After. You enjoyed the day, friends and family, but now it’s back to business.
Make wise choices the next day using foods such as soups, lean proteins, dandelion tea, and salads/veggies.
Drink plenty of water as well and flush out any unnecessary toxins from the day before. Remember, you are responsible for what you put in your mouth!
And Happy Holidays and best wishes for a great New Year!