Nutrition plays a big role in a player’s physical performance both on and off the field; however, it doesn’t have to hurt your pocket as a parent. In fact, your whole family could benefit from eating with your young rugby player. We look at the essential needs of your rugby boy’s diet and how you can help him achieve his goals on a budget.
WHAT DOES HE NEED?
- calcium (bones and muscles) – almonds, pumpkin seeds, green vegetables, sardines and low fat dairy.
- iron (metabolism and energy) – eggs, meat, legumes, and spinach.
- vitamin B (metabolism, blood and mental health) – wholegrains and bananas.
- zinc (healing and immunity) – nuts, seeds and fish.
- carbohydrates (energy) – wholegrain breads and pasta, rolled oats, bran, sweet potatoes and plain/low-fat yoghurts.
- protein (muscle growth and maintenance) – meat, eggs, low-fat dairy, fish, legumes.
- fat (energy and brain development) – eggs, fish and seeds.
HOW CAN I SAVE?
- Keep an eye out for specials.
- Menu plans can help but, should a special come up, you need to be able to adapt your recipe accordingly.
- Leftovers can make life easier. You can quickly turn last night’s dinner into something new and delicious for lunch the next day.
- Try to make all his meals at home. Buy some good quality containers, bottles and Ziploc packets to fill with homemade food and drink.
- Substitute some meaty meals with protein rich, low fat legumes and tinned fish to save money.
- Buy in bulk as this often works out cheaper in the long run.
- Make your own snacks by making healthy mixes which include seeds, nuts and dried fruit.
If you have fussy eaters, big or small, at home. Here’s a great dinner option that is packed with protein, carbohydrates, iron, vitamin B and good fats.
CHICKEN EGG FRIED RICE (serves 4)
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 300g brown rice
- 2 colourful peppers, diced
- 4 large eggs
- 200g frozen peas
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- A few sprigs of spring onions, finely sliced
- Start cooking the rice without adding salt.
- Heat the oil and cook the chicken and peppers on a low heat until browned and soft.
- Break the eggs into the pan and scramble them with the peppers.
- Add the peas, soy sauce and spring onions.
- Once cooked, add the rice and mix together.
- Serve with fresh parsley and enjoy!