The Makings of a Healthy Diet for the Hockey Family

Training Table 

It's not only your hockey player who needs to eat healthfully—good nutrition is essential for the entire family. Here are some guidelines that can help:

Variety for vitality! There are no super foods that supply all the nutrients you need, so be sure to eat a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods from all four food groups.

Eat your vegetables and whole grains. Fill half your plate with vegetables and a quarter with whole grains. These complex carbohydrates provide vitamins and minerals and are the body's favourite source of fuel. Plus, they provide fibre, which helps you feel fuller longer (a help in weight management), improves digestive health (by regulating bowel movements) and can also help decrease blood pressure and “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Become a “flexitarian.” Try eating a vegetarian meal once a week. Replace meat or poultry with a meat alternative of your choice such as cheese, peanut butter, eggs, tofu, nuts or legumes (beans, peas and lentils). Legumes are a great way to increase fibre and are packed with protein, which is essential for building and repairing cells in the body, as well as helping boost the immune system.

Bone up! Milk and milk alternatives contain over 16 nutrients. Three of which — calcium, vitamin D and phosphorous—play a key role in keeping bones and teeth healthy. Most people do not get enough vitamin D, called the sunshine vitamin, so be sure to drink two to three glasses of milk a day. If you don't like milk, enjoy a fortified soy beverage.

Include healthy fats . Fats help your body absorb vitamins A, D, E and K. Make sure to opt for unsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, which may help lower LDL (“lousy” ) cholesterol and raise HDL (“healthy” ) cholesterol to help protect against heart disease. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and trout plus flaxseed and flaxseed oil. Oils like canola, walnut and olive, as well as avocados, nuts and seeds, are also unsaturated fat sources. Remember, a little fat goes a long way, so watch your intake!

Eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods rather than filling up on empty calories will help everyone in your family be their best.