“What do you serve your boy for dinner before the tryouts?”
A local hockey mom asked me this question very seriously, several years ago, before our sons’ competitive hockey tryout. Our sons’ competitive PeeWee hockey tryout, I might add.
“Um, food?” I replied adding an awkward grin, and regretted it immediately. She then launched into her fully researched and nutritionally balanced menu for the coming week’s tryout schedule. I realized then I should probably give pre-tryout and subsequent pre-game meals more than just a passing thought… or not sit next to this hockey mom anymore!
I learned early in the motherhood game – as did my kids - that food seems to be a basic necessity of life. I have always enjoyed cooking but when confronted with the food fussiness of three finicky children, my passion for culinary creations waned significantly. The question, “What’s for dinner?” elicits similar reactions from me to that of listening to my car mechanic describe what’s wrong with my hockey van. As hockey season approaches, rest assured that I’m bound to pull out my favourite recipe in the very near future – the one that begins with “pick up the phone …”
We all know that food does impact kids’ performance at school (she says as her children dash out to the bus with little more than a swig of mouthwash), so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that food also impacts kids’ performance on the ice (she says as she’s swinging through the fast food drive-thru on the way to the arena).
So at the risk of sounding too hypocritical, try to remember these two words before your kid’s big tryout or hockey game: fuel and hydrate.
That’s it. That’s all the food advice I am qualified to give.
Your child needs food. Feed them carbs, protein, some fat and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Loading them up on simple carbs might help energize them in the short run but then that post-carb crash is definitely not what they need during an important tryout or game. Put the cookies and chips away (she says as she tucks that bags of Lays behind her back).
Your child needs fluids. Give them water and milk. They’re going to need all their body muscles, bones and functions firing on all cylinders. Make sure they’re well-hydrated (she says as she pours herself a glass of wine).
I also try to employ the “80/20 rule”: Eighty percent for me and twenty percent for you! Just kidding! I try to feed my kids well eighty percent of the time (or eighty percent of the day or week!) and I will cut them – and me – some slack the rest of the time.
Beyond that, I don’t have much more food for thought (see what I did there?). A busy schedule is staring you down and you probably have to be in about four different places at the same time tonight. It’s hard being a mom, a working mom, a work-at-home mom, a single mom, a mom with multiple kids in hockey so do what you can, and do it with as much love as possible. I guarantee that you and your family will get through this crazy little thing that is hockey tryouts.
Three cheers for hockey moms – and getting that dinner on the table before the big event!
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