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The Patriot

Here’s the Game Plan: Fueling success

Sports Editor Emily Stancliff is an athlete with a mission: to inform you, the sports community, about your bad habits. "Here's the Game Plan" will give readers advice about everything and anything, ranging from fuel food to keeping your "cool" during a rough game.

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My heart cries out in emotion as my friend drags me through the cafeteria line so she can grab her lunch. The warm french fries, the freshly baked cookies, and the buffalo chicken wraps call out to my guilty conscience. In an attempt to ease the yearning for our everyday junk food cravings, I offer six simple steps to fuel your body for those all-important game days.

It’s no secret that water is the ruler of all beverages. When one is fully hydrated, water can give you the sensation of being full, thus reducing your cravings for eating whatever is in front of you. You don’t have to join the Swell bottle trend, but a water bottle to carry around with you during school is essential.

Almost just as important as water is intermittent snacking. Without annoying your teachers, a small granola bar before or during advisory can go a long way to keep yourself on track.

When considering your snacking choices, I would lean towards whole grains, nuts, or fruits. I am a personal fan of pistachios, frozen grapes, and sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Edamame has also been a favorite of many fitness fanatics that I would highly recommend because of its high protein concentration.

I know that many of my friends fall victim to skipping breakfast altogether in the morning, but breakfast is not an option to skip as an athlete, and coffee does not count as breakfast. I personally enjoy microwaving an egg, a tablespoon of milk, and a pinch of pepper in a bowl on high for 45 seconds, making an instant egg sandwich in a few quick steps.

I’m sure you are thinking that I am endorsing obesity at this point, but food in multiple small quantities is easier for your body to metabolize than not eating throughout the day and then overeating. It’s important to have a good lunch of some protein, vegetables or fruit, and something salty in order to fuel you into your workout and keep you feeling energized.

I also try to stay away from Gatorade or Powerade following my workout. Replacing the artificial, sugary drinks with chocolate milk will help your body to recover in a healthier way. Any of the aforementioned drinks will only make you crave the sugar more, leading to a toxifying relationship between you and your food that could spiral into the development of worse habits.

It can be difficult during our school days to keep ourselves healthy and focused for our after-school sports, but with the help of these tips, you will survive that long three-month season of practices and games.

Emily Stancliff is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.

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Here’s the Game Plan: Fueling success