My dearly beloved Thing One is rapidly approaching his fourteenth birthday. As a fairly standard active teenaged boy, he can already be relied upon to approach food like a starving hyena. Since this summer he will be playing on two soccer teams (limited schedules at least) while also engaging in a massive summer regimen preparatory to trying out for a third team, his high school's freshman team, I don't know how the hell I'm going to keep him sufficiently fueled. For the high school team alone, he has three lifting workouts, two conditioning workouts, and two captain's practices a week from now through the second week of August. His protein requirements are positively mind-boggling!
When I went to the grocery store the other day, I loaded up on eggs, cheese, milk, peanut butter, lean ground beef and chicken breasts. Oh, and whole-grain buns and breads. My plan is to keep grilled chicken, turkey and ham lunchmeats, and sloppy joe filling in the fridge at all times for easy sandwiches. He already eats a lot of eggs for breakfast and cheese hunks for snacks, and luckily we are entering fresh fruit and veggie season in my part of the world as well (I love being surrounded by farm stands!) I don't keep a ton of junk food in the house anyway, but I'm going to make a concerted effort to cut back on it. Bottom line, there will be lots of good food in the house. The flip side of the deal is that he has to eat it without me nagging him! The reality is that if he wants to make this team, he has to pay attention to his nutrition, and that entire box of mac and cheese that he loves to eat for an after-school snack just isn't going to make the grade. I spend enough time chasing Petunia around with protein-rich foods, little bird that she is...I absolutely refuse to do the same for Thing One. If I have to drive his sorry behind to the high school and back seven times a week for the next six weeks, he can darned well show me that I'm not wasting my time by making good food choices!
As you might surmise from the description of the summer training, his high school is a big one with a very successful athletic program. (Also an outstanding academic reputation, I should say.) It has a full-time strength and conditioning coach who supervises the lifting and conditioning workouts. Apparently he also has some sort of app that emails all the boys on the soccer team a series of questions each morning: how much sleep they got the night before, how stressed they are, how much water they drank the day before, that kind of thing. I think it's great that they are encouraging the boys to get into healthy habits. I also think it's great that Costco recently opened a store nearby, since clearly I am going to be grocery shopping in bulk for the foreseeable future!