A busy training and playing regime means that I need to show extra diligence when it comes to my diet ensuring that I am fuelling my body with the best foods. As an elite athlete I have been particularly lucky and fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best health professionals in the business helping me make conscious decisions about how I should take care of myself away from the netball court. Over my 10 year playing career I would have to say that I have seen a huge shift and much more importance placed on the nutrition and recovery component of our bodies.
One question I am often asked by not only enthusiastic young netballers but also mothers is what does a ‘day on a plate’ look like for you? Well the answer is short and sweet in most cases…. a lot of food! Whether it has been from my country upbringing of eating good solid hearty meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner the truth is I have a BIG healthy appetite and like most people – I enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures…. eating! But as mentioned earlier it’s only been the last few years that I really come to realise you really do get out of your body what you put in! So what does a ‘day on a plate’ look like for me? Here we go!
I am normally up and at it at least 3 times a week in the gym for an early morning session kicking off around 6am. While I struggle to consume too much food at this early hour of the morning it’s important that I give my body some fuel before hitting the gym or out on the track for a running session. A banana is my pick of the bunch (pardon the pun) for a pre-match training snack but afterwards I will sit down to a proper breakfast that normally consists of 2 poached eggs on some wholegrain toast. Another alternative for me will be a bowl of home made granola muesli with almond milk and seasonal fruit! I have learnt to love and embrace breakfast as only a few years ago it was my least favourite meal of the day, but it really is one the most important meals kick-starting your metabolism for the day ahead.
Lunch is an exceptionally important meal for me as most of my court work training sessions take place around 3pm, therefore I need to ensure I give my body a good source of carbohydrate before burning it up on the netball court! Lunch often sees me sitting down to a healthy sandwich. I always ensure I have a protein option, which will include something like ham, chicken, or tuna and a good amount of every salad option you can possibly think of…lettuce, tomato, cheese and avocado to name just a few. Smack all these ingredients between two pieces of fresh wholegrain bread and you have yourself a winner!
Dinner is my favourite meal of the day. I love to cook and try new things but during a training week I always find myself reverting to simple, easy and good protein options (fish, beef, lamb, pork) etc. with lots of vegetables and salad. I never get sick of these options, as there is so much to do with these simple ingredients and so many different ways of cooking them. I ensure I get a good source of carbohydrate from my vegetables whether it be through any form of potatoes or corn and try to have as much variety with my protein option as possible. Because I do have a sweet tooth I will always finish with a small treat for dessert this will sometimes be some dark chocolate with a nice cup of tea or some fruit and yoghurt!
Snacking is also a very important part of my routine. I am a big fan of homemade protein balls and healthy treats – there is nothing better than a mid morning coffee and a small sweet to give me a boost!