Nutrition Advice for the Festive Season for Young Athletes & Adolescents

Christmas & the New Year is upon us, and that means tons of amazing time spent with family and even more delicious, delicious food. It's a time that many people "fall off the bandwagon" or justify their over-indulgence with an attitude of "I'll work it off later by pushing myself harder physically"... both of these mindsets are short-term and can be harmful for the next generations, so here are our best bits of advice for getting through the festive season

Our viewpoint toward nutrition in the festive period is probably going to ruffle a few feathers, but the main thing we'd love for you to remember is that this is written with young athletes and adolescents in mind - as we're very lenient in this period & we find the fact this is a question we get asked to be a little discerning as we believe in the "enjoy, relax, and eat" mantra for young athletes at this time of the year. You've got to live life...

The first thing we need to discuss are specific goals, as the advice is different depending on the goals of the individual

But first, a quick disclaimer: one of the hardest things we have to battle in this period is when kids begin to get anxious about food during this time period, or how their training is taking a back seat... If this is their course of thinking, we love to shift their perspective to think of it as a life handing you a few days off to recover and re-charge your batteries. Being anxious about eating in social settings is something that's becoming more prevalent in society today, and it's something we need to stamp out

If you're a young athlete who has worked their butt off all year - training, competing, pushing hard, then the advice is simple - enjoy yourself & relax. Eat. Enjoy all the delicious food. Enjoy the time with family. Don't make yourself sick with gluttony, but enjoy yourself and enjoy the special moments. Use this time as a chance to let both the body and mind recover from all the stress it's been through - you'll come back fresher both mentally and physically for the next year. There will be plenty of family walks, bike rides, backyard cricket, and other activities to keep you active and moving - so don't stress 

If we're talking to one of our adolescents who are in for lifestyle changes, the same advice applies - only with a tiny twist and shift in perspective. Enjoyment is still our main priority, but we throw one of our 5 nutrition principles into the mix - always make the best choice you can at the available time. Our main focus is for them to enjoy themselves, the food, and the family time - but to be mindful of what they're eating - not eating till their overfull and enjoying things in moderation. This is a new lifestyle we're creating, and moderation is a part of that. Enjoy getting outside with family, enjoy the backyard games, enjoy bike rides with friends and getting down to the beach

Simple. Enjoy yourself as you've earned this past year. Cherish the family time and time spent with friends. Make your choices align with your goals. And enjoy every moment

Nick Maier