STORY: Eating to fuel performance – one teen athlete’s story

Guest blogger, Maya Lima, NKHS Class of 2020

I’ve been playing sports for almost my whole life and not until recently, I had been fueling my body with foods that I wanted to eat, not ones that I should have been eating. My pre game snack would be goldfish and then grabbing something from the concession stand afterwards. Even in my downtime, I would be stuffing my face with oreos, goldfish, brownies and other kinds of junk food I could get my hands on. I would always feel run down and hungry because my body wasn’t getting the proper nutrition that it needed to refuel itself after playing a game or working out.

Last year, I met with a nutritionist to try and help fix my eating habits. We talked about my likes, dislikes, and what I was willing to try. She got back to me a few weeks later with a list of foods I can eat for different meals and snack on at certain times. For the first week, I was trying my hardest to stick to it but shortly after, I was back to eating cookies.

My mom has recently started my family on the Whole 30 diet to try and get us to eat semi-better. There are only certain foods that you can eat on this and most of them didn’t fill and fuel me.  My mom understood where I was coming from and is letting me use the papers the nutritionist gave us to plan my meals. I’ve even started to make and eat things I thought I never would. I’ve had yogurt with fresh berries and honey, plantain chips, and zoodles. My brother made healthy brownies which were amazing!

My family and I have been doing Whole 30 now for almost 2 weeks and I have seen an improvement in my playing and appetite. I’ve snacked less throughout the day and learned to make wiser decisions on what to eat. My energy level has been high and I haven’t felt run down. I can even see improvement on the court! I’m more alert and ready to go after the ball. My pre and post game foods have now become a piece of fruit or a waffle with peanut butter (if I have a morning game) and chocolate milk and peanut butter crackers.

Any athlete from someone on the court to someone in the pool doing laps should try and fuel their bodies with the best foods possible in order to get their best level of play.