With spring soccer season just around the corner for kids and families, a new book that hits shelves in April is a great way to keep players energized for the game and healthy at the same time.
Players from Women's Professional Soccer offer up their favorite recipes to provide young athletes with easy and tasty meals to help them follow a healthy diet in the The Food Guide for Soccer: Tips and Recipes from the Pros written by Nancy Clark and Gloria Averbuch.
The book provides eating tips for before, during and after a practice or a game. In addition there are sections on how to bulk up or to get lean and lighter, like a professional soccer player might do.
"It's a combination of insightful and sensible nutrition from players from different cultures," Averbuch said.
WPS has a large international base as players hail from all over the globe, including Europe, South America, Australia and Canada. Some of the players added their own cultural twist to some traditional favorites like hamburgers or fried rice."It's fun to see what Natasha Kai eats in Hawaii and what Marta eats from Brazil," Averbuch said. "If someone is a professional athlete and is eating this, then you know it's good for you, too."
One of the more surprising foods that is mentioned throughout the book is chocolate.
Yael Averbuch of Sky Blue FC -- Gloria's daughter--takes chocolate milk to replenish her muscles after every practice.
"Chocolate milk is a pleasing taste and you certainly want to drink what is better for you so you get an instant hit from the sweet chocolate and you get the protein and the specialty ingredients that are found to be in milk that are helpful," Gloria Averbuch said.
Yael also enjoys taking dark chocolate and pairing it with peanut butter for a high energy snack, which is exciting for anyone who has a bit of a sweet tooth.
Other recipes from popular soccer stars and WPS teams include Brandi Chastain's avocado salad, Abby Wambach's date bars, Kristine Lilly's chicken with mushrooms & roasted potatoes and Marta's signature lasagna.
Averbuch hopes that readers will take away the three major principles from the book:
- You need to eat sensibly and sufficiently to support your activity and your lifestyle as young and growing person.
- Eating is for fuel and is pleasurable. It's an activity you can share with family and teammates and you shouldn't beat yourself up over eating, because you need to eat.
- Understand the principles of good nutrition by whole food and not by fads.
"My co-author Nancy (Clark) is really big on getting your nutrients from whole foods as opposed to what she calls engineered foods, those are your gels and your PowerBars--which are fine to supplement, but not all the time," Averbauch said. "A lot people think you can drink protein drinks or drink powders or a shake or a bar but it's not really what we want people to learn. We want them to learn a good diet from whole foods, foods that you find in their original form."
Although the tips come from a soccer perspective, Averbuch says that this guide is applicable to any active youth sport or youth with an active lifestyle. She hopes this book teaches young athletes good eating habits early so they can achieve their highest potential.
"It's an education for the sport and for the activity, but it's also an education about life. How do young people prepare themselves, you do it by practice."
Averbuch has previously written 12 books on sports, soccer, health and fitness. Her co-author Nancy Clark MS RD, is a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, with a private practice at Healthworks in Chestnut Hill, Mass. She is also the nutrition consultant for the Boston Breakers of WPS.