Jump in Feet First

Let’s just talk about the elephant in the room, the wrestling taboo, the OMG! wrestling weight management scare, shall we?

So, as I’ve said before, I had NO idea what high school wrestling was about.  It was a huge shock when my friends commented, “Oh! That’s the sport where they starve themselves!”  “Aren’t you worried about an eating disorder?”  “Wow.  I can’t believe you are letting him do that.”  I was expecting more positive and supportive comments rather than freaking me out.

Really? No, no, no!  Wrestling, as I have learned, is a very intense sport that requires athletes to use all of their strength and stamina in a one-to-one battle.  In addition to these intense matches wrestlers train with the intensity of a professional athlete (ok, a little exaggeration).  My son practices 2 hours a day EVERY DAY!  It is 2 hours of non-stop movement — cardio, strength training, and mat time.  In comparison, I don’t even go to the gym 2 times a week — I am pathetic compared to these kids!

I subscribe to an entirely different philosophy about student athletes, special diets, and eating.  Simply, I don’t believe student athletes should have a “special diet”, “diet”, or “starve themselves”.  Unless recommended by a physician I don’t believe they should have a diet.  I mean, they are kids… growing kids!  I do believe they should eat healthy just like the rest of us.  I also believe they need extra food, good food, for the extra energy they need.

This leads me to research.  Oh, yes, research.  What is a belief without something to rest it on?  In this case, I need science.  Pure, simple, black and white science.

I found an great resource at http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness  This site contains a vast amount of great information for parents and student athletes.  The thrust of the information is health and good eating habits for kids.

We all know student athletes are kids who are very physically active.  Their food and energy needs are different from average, growing kids.  Teenagers in particular are transitioning physically from children to adults.  That in and of itself takes a lot of energy!  Add 2 hours of boot camp each day and the energy needs skyrocket.

I especially appreciate the site’s emphasis healthy hydration and eating a variety of foods for necessary nutrients.  The focus is on health not on unhealthy performance enhancing behaviors.  I recommend reading A Guide to Eating for Sports http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/nutrition/eatnrun.html#cat20132.

In the spirit of healthy eating (and I admit to losing almost 10 pounds since cooking this way! I know, win for me too.) I have started cooking differently for the family.

The majority of my meals are coming from http://www.cookinglight.com  I LOVE this site.  The recipes are delicious and use a variety of different flavors and ingredients.  Did I mention it’s very healthy?  A cherry on top!

Drum roll please…..   and here is the fabulously tasty and healthy meal I made a few nights ago.


Healthy wrestler’s food!

Braised Root Vegetables and Chicken Thighs

(from CookingLight http://www.cookinglight.com )

1/4 C all-purpose flour

8 bone-in, skinned chicken thighs

5 t olive oil

2 C chopped onion

2 C cubed peeled rutabaga

2 C cubed peeled turnip

2 C cubed peeled butternut squash

1 C slices parsnip

1 minced garlic clove

1/2 C fat-free low-sodium chicken broth

1 t chopped fresh thyme

1 t chopped fresh sage

1/2 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

1 bay leaf

1. Place flower in shallow dish; dip chicken in flour

2. Heat 1 T oil in large pan over medium-high heat (I used my cast iron dutch oven).  Add chicken – turning once to brown.  Remove chicken & set aside

3. Heat remaining 2 t oil; add onion, rutabaga, turnip, squash, parsnip, and garlic.  Saute for about 5 minutes.  Stir in broth and next 5 ingredients.  Add chicken on tip.  Bring to a boil.  Cover.  Place in a 350′ oven for about 45 minutes.

Serve with a green salad (arugula is awesome) and sliced French bread.

Let me know how your dish turns out.