As difficult as playing a sport is competitively, I consistently see athletes (particularly young athletes in middle or high school) eating unhealthy snacks and meals at tournaments.
Whether it’s pizza, chips, soda or candy bars, I often cringe when I see their chosen snack in the middle of a long tournament. Almost worse is when I hear that they have not eaten at all before starting to play.
To be at your best, you need to have a balanced diet that includes the proper fuel for your body. The good news is that it doesn’t need to be complicated. The key is to include some of each food group at all meals, and have a few snacks in your bag that don’t need refrigeration.
Some ideas for healthy snacks are:
* fresh fruit (apples, oranges or bananas are great options)
* small servings of granola or trail mix (make sure there isn’t a large amount of added sugars in this—sometimes the calories can really add up and you don’t want to have a sugary snack during competition)
* peanut butter on one piece of whole wheat bread
* unsweetened apple sauce cups with a small handful of almonds
* hard-boiled egg and a bit of cheese (so long as you’re not playing in an outdoor tournament where the egg will get warm and cheese will melt, of course!)
Really, you’re only limited to your imagination and some basic knowledge on nutrition. There are vegetables (think baby carrots and snap peas) that are wonderful and filling snacks—just skip the heavy ranch dressing and opt for hummus or a lighter dip to dress it up a bit.
Of course, you’re going to want to assure you have a solid breakfast before playing and a nice lunch (sub sandwich on wheat is a great choice) if it’s an all-day outing. Certainly you’re going to need to watch out for any allergies, but there are a lot of options to pick from.
I have found the biggest issue is planning ahead. If you are prepared and are willing to be a little creative, you can really eat healthy and not feel weighed-down by your food choices or have those sugar-spikes from eating candy and crunchy chips.
I know that is where I struggle—if I don’t pack my lunch for the day I will make poor selections on nutrition and pick something from a vending machine that is unhealthy or hit a drive-thru because it’s fast and easy.
So, think about your next practice, match or tournament and make a plan ahead of time! You’ll avoid getting too hungry or tired and feel so much better during the day.
Here’s to healthy snacking!
So many great things are happening at Badger Region Volleyball Association and I’m proud to be the Independent Board Member appointed in 2015.
My interaction with the Badger Region started well over a decade ago when I was contacted by a colleague to work at a volleyball tournament as an athletic trainer. I was asked to assist at the Badger Region Championships to evaluate and treat any injuries sustained during the event. I’ve continued my involvement in that tournament, as well as others, for many years and still work Region events as a licensed athletic trainer whenever possible. Never in all of those years did I imagine I’d later be serving on the Board of Directors.
I am now an attorney (in addition to also being an athletic trainer) and utilize my legal expertise to advise the Region’s Board of Directors. While working at the events, I noticed the great things that the Region was doing. In addition to hosting the tournaments, there was always a plethora of additional coaching available, camp information to improve volleyball performance, and a fun atmosphere. Whether it was a girls event or a boys event, the kids all seemed to be having fun!
This is, in large part, due to the dedication of all of the great coaches and programs throughout the Region. Whether it’s a team from the northern part of Wisconsin, or down in the Southeastern part of the state, the enjoyment of the game and learning as a team seems to bring everyone together.
I’m appreciative of the passion that the Board members have, whether they are advocating on behalf of players, coaches, officials and score monitors, tournament development or enhanced educational opportunities, the common thread is that everyone on the Badger Region team is interested in making the best decisions for the membership and growing the game.
I would encourage everyone to reach out to your region representatives to take advantage of the opportunities to meet new people and get more involved in volleyball—you can volunteer to assist your local clubs, become an official (and not just from your sideline chair!), participate in a fundraiser that directly impacts the game or simply be a positive voice during games supporting the participants. The possibilities are endless, so get out there!