Son #1 and I have often been on opposite sides of an argument about the benefits of commercial protein powders and shakes. At 18, he is in the gym every day training for rugby, adding bulk, power and speed.
Once your children are in this environment there are any number of powder pimps pushing expensive and potentially harmful cocktails of “performance enhancing” product. Those of you with teenage boys won’t need to be told they need more testosterone, steroids or massive hits of caffeine.
There is a real need to provide a higher protein content than in a normal diet for sporty children. They need enough for normal growth and development, plus more to fuel high levels of exercise. Protein is a very important part of the human make up, helping to build and repair tissue, skin, muscles and healthy blood. Unlike fat and carbohydrate, the body does not store protein and therefore needs regularly topping up.
Everywhere you look the diet industry is pushing shakes, protein bars, sexed up peanut butter, etc., so that they can have a share of the trendy protein pie. So, how to get a natural protein into them without a chemical based shake or expensive, sugar laden bars ?
I have a few tactics for this …..The fridge needs to have a good supply of grab and go snacks – cooked, marinated chicken thighs (tandoori lurks there today), bowls of hard boiled eggs, gallons of milk, handfuls of spinach.
Together with some store cupboard staples, try a few of the following for a good protein hit or snack:
- Baked beans on toast (I use Heinz Five Beanz)
- Wholegrain cereals with milk
- Peanut butter and banana sandwich
- Fruit smoothie with oats and spinach thrown in
- Packets of almonds
- Lean beef, wrapped in multigrain wrap with spinach, pomegranate seeds and hummus
- Fish – smoked salmon in a wholegrain bagel, smoked mackerel mashed with Greek yogurt and lemon juice, piled on super seeded oat cakes
We have a shake make on the kitchen work surface the canisters of which serve as carry out drinks flasks, ready to fill, smooth together and go. Make sure the freezer has a supply of frozen fruit and berries, as often they leave it to the last minute and negotiating the fruit bowl seems like too much hard work for them. An example of what we may throw in would look something like this:
High Protein Super Shake – Makes 2
Handful of frozen berries
Handful of organic rolled oats
Handful of spinach
slices of apple/mango/pear, fresh or frozen
One banana, fresh or frozen
100g Greek yoghurt/Wholegrain strawberry yoghurt (I use Onken)
1 raw organic egg
Good glug of semi skimmed milk
Whizz and serve. If you’re working with more fresh ingredients, add a few ice cubes to get the temperature down and hydration levels up.
Sports Nutrition for Young Athletes – Anita Bean
Food for Fitness – Anita Bean