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I was at a hockey game on the weekend and noticed a few of the scratched or injured players getting food from the concession between periods. The first thing that comes to mind is ‘Why are these guys hungry when they’re only sitting and not playing the game?’ ‘What did they have for a pre-game meal?’ and ‘When did they have it?’

If these players are scratches then they would eat a regular pre-game meal like everyone else in the expectation that they would be playing. And if they’re a visiting player that’s injured they would also eat with everyone else.

So it was a little strange to see them eating after 20  minutes of hockey. But stranger still was the food they were eating.

A large bag of popcorn, a hot dog and a large soda.

I shouldn’t be surprised to see teenagers eat this kind of food.

But do they realize how detrimental this is to their bodies? Do they know how poor these nutritional choices are? Are they aware how their performance suffers by eating this junk?

Maybe they need to consider this in another way.

Imagine handing them the keys to the ultimate sports car. I’m not a huge car guy but lets say this was a Lamborghini.

Hopefully this player wouldn’t put in the cheapest gasoline he could find. Instead we’d hope he’d recognize the value of this expensive machine and seek out the highest quality fuel available.

But a Lamborghini has a price tag on it and could be replaced. Maybe over a few lifetimes of work but this car could be replaced.

A hockey player’s body is priceless and he or she has to see it this way as well. Only then will they seek out the best quality fuel for their bodies.

Another way they could look at this is to imagine they were given the task of arranging the highest quality nutritional meals for their hockey idol. This could be Crosby, Ovechkin or Wickenheiser. It doesn’t matter. The only job this young hockey player has is to ensure that their favourite hockey player receives the absolute best, highest quality and freshest nutrition possible.

How many of these young kids would be feeding Crosby, Ovechkin and Wickenheiser hot dogs, popcorn and soda?

Probably not many.

So if they are able to recognize a poor nutritional choice for a star player they need to realize the importance for quality nutrition for themselves as well.

Because as they continue to put back pop corn, hot dogs and soda they are getting a solid dose of:

* corn, salt and artificial butter from the popcorn

* refined white bread, nitrates from the hot dog and lots of sugar from the ketchup

* and calories, sugar and possibly high fructose corn syrup from the soda

And you how many of these things a hockey player needs in their diet?

Zero.

Guess why they call them empty calories.

But it’s not as though they have a neutral effect beyond having no nutritional value.

These foods will lead to sluggishness, blood sugar spikes, increased bodyfat and disrupt sleep in addition to other negative effects.

So the next time you need to grab a snack at a game come prepared. You won’t find what you need at an arena concession. And when you’re trying to figure out what to bring imagine you were bringing a snack for your favourite hockey player and you’ll get the idea.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                                                                                onsidehockeytraining.com

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