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Frequently Asked Questions

Sports nutrition

I’m 19yrs and love playing netball for the university club but get really tired particularly when playing games back to back. Have you got any snacking ideas so that I can keep up my stamina without gaining too much weight?

It is important first of all to ensure that your main meals are adequate. For instance if playing your first game at 10am have a good breakfast of fruit, cereal and yoghurt (or a piece of toast with cheese or egg) around 8am. When you break half way through the first game have a banana along with plenty of water. If you are going straight onto another game then try to fit in a flavoured milk and muffin or muesli bar before the game starts or at least within the first half of the second game. Ideally after play, go home and have a substantial lunch such as soup and a toasted sandwich; or Panini; or sushi or baked beans and an egg on toast.

Also in Sports Nutrition View all »

  • In the winter-time I find it really hard to...

    You need to have a goal to make exercising more fun. So decide on at least 240-300 minutes of exercise per week and work at it steadily throughout the week. On sunny days try to get away from work for a 20-30minute walk during your lunch breaks. Set designated days for the gym and have … Read more »

  • I’m 16 years old male and want to build up...

    It is really important that you speak to a sports dietitian before you attempt to do this. At 16 years you are still growing and if you over develop muscle when your bones are still growing you can do a lot of damage. High protein diets can also be very high in salt which can … Read more »

  • I go to golf on a Saturday. We usually tee...

    Have a good breakfast around 8am such as some cereal, fruit and yoghurt with toast. Then a snack before you tee off about 10am e.g. some fruit or a small muffin. If you are playing for at least 4 hours it is a good idea to take a filled roll with you to have around … Read more »

  • I finish work at 5.30pm and then go to the...

    Look closely at your lunch meal and ensure that it contains some protein such as an egg or cheese roll or sandwich. Then around 3-4pm have an afternoon tea snack such as a medium sized muffin and a trim latte or trim milkshake. This way you will arrive at the gym with sufficient energy to … Read more »

  • I ride my bike to work each day and a crowd...

    Ideally you need around 30-40mls per kilogram of body weight less 500mls to allow for the fluid in food. On top of this you need around 0.7L per hour for exercise to cover sweat losses. So you require in total around 2.3-3L/day. However to find out a closer estimation of sweat losses it is good … Read more »

  • I’m a body builder. Will eating egg whites...

    The short answer is ‘no’. High protein diets can actually contribute to weight loss. It’s all a question of balance. A diet high in carbohydrates and moderate protein together with increased weight resistance exercise will provide great results without risk to your long term healt.

  • Our 17 year old daughter is rowing seriously...

    This is such a common problem with rowers. By the time they get home from rowing it is often late, dinner is overcooked and not appealing even when reconstituted in the microwave. You can try offering the meat meal as a filled chicken and salad roll at around 4pm before rowing and then follow this … Read more »

  • My 12 year old boy and his friends are swimmers...

    You have a right to be concerned. The reason that some coaches advocate lollies after swimming is that these are foods with a high GI (glycaemic index). Which means that they rapidly release glucose into the system. Following exercise this can be a good strategy to assist muscle recovery and storage of glucose (i.e. glycogen) … Read more »

  • Our 15 year old daughter has starting running...

    Research has shown that girls learn a lot about exercise from their fathers so it is encouraging that they are doing this together. Generally children should have around 60minutes of exercise per day and adults a minimum of 30minutes. If children over exercise, energy can be diverted from growth towards trying to keep up with … Read more »

  • Our 12 year old daughter is always talking...

    Take her comments seriously and get some professional help. Particularly if she is overweight. If you try to deny that she has a problem then she is less likely to come to you for help with other problems she may be having. Also her excess weight can affect her bone growth by increasing the likelihood … Read more »

  • My teenage daughter is overweight. Will talking...

    The short answer is that it is unlikely to. If you do nothing and she continues to put on weight you face other health issues and possibly a lifetime of yo-yo dieting. By teaching her about healthy eating and nutrition you are encouraging her to nurture and respect her body at an early age which … Read more »

  • Our 17 year old son is very hard to get moving...

    At 17 years your son is coming to the end of his growth spurt but will still need around 9 hours of sleep at night. So try to encourage him to go to bed earlier the night before. Also you could check out his iron status as iron deficiency can occur during times of rapid … Read more »

  • Our 11 year old boy is always tired and grumpy...

    It’s not always how much that matters, but the quality of the food eaten, that is important. Most boys go through a growth spurt between 12-17yrs during which time his energy requirements will seem to have no bounds. You need to offer plenty of low GI carbohydrate rich foods such as wholegrain breads and cereals … Read more »

  • Our 16 year old girl won’t eat tea with the...

    You need to work this one out as a family because isolated eating has been found to be associated with the development of eating disorders. On a more positive note a survey carried out by Watties ®and Tegel ® in New Zealand found that families that shared meals together reported enjoying the opportunity of comparing … Read more »

  • Our children often bring home their lunchboxes...

    Talk about why this is happening. Usually children just get distracted over their lunch breaks with sports practice or wanting to play with their friends. Encourage your children to talk about the foods that they would like to have for lunch and involve them in its preparation if you can. While academic achievement is improved … Read more »

  • We have two boys aged 6 and 9 years and neither...

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Particularly for growing children as it breaks the fast from the night before. Research has found that children who skip breakfast are more likely to graze throughout the day and to feel tired and hungry leading to snacking later when they are less active. This can … Read more »

  • Our 15 year old daughter wants to be a vegetarian...

    You could make an agreement to the vegetarian diet contingent on her having a blood test to check her iron status. A vegetarian diet can be a very healthy option provided that it is well monitored. Iron, protein and Vitamin B12 are usually the nutrients most affected by less meat in the diet. Iron has … Read more »

  • Our 9 year old son won’t eat his tea claiming...

    If you can get him to help you keep a food diary for a few days you will soon see where the problem is. Often children eat large afternoon teas or snacks when they are out with friends. Also he may be drinking fluids too close to tea time thereby reducing his appetite for solid … Read more »

  • My 12 year old daughter has coeliac disease...

    Dietary fibre is essential for bowel health and wheat is an important source but it can be successfully replaced with other foods. Rice bran cereal can be used for breakfast or included in baking. Also there are now a number of ancient grains available such as millet, sorghum, quinoa, soy flour etc that are making … Read more »

  • Our 9mth old daughter has very flushed cheeks....

    During their first year of life children often show signs of fever and flushed cheeks. While teething is often blamed as well as exposure to infections or viruses, it can also be a natural reaction to the introduction of certain fruits. Some food allergies can also result in skin irritations. Discuss this with your GP … Read more »

  • My 4 month old baby wakes at night. Should...

    Often mothers lose confidence in their ability to produce sufficient breast milk to meet the needs of their growing baby but they shouldn’t. Breast milk is the very best start you can give your baby so continue to feed on demand until your baby is 6 months old. Then slowly introduce cereals and fruit offering … Read more »

  • My 2 year old boy chews meat and then spits...

    The answer is “probably not” as the meat needs to be swallowed. Young children have deciduous (baby) teeth not steak knives in their mouths. Try offering softer versions of meat such as pate, mince or diced casseroled meat. You might also like to try grilling a lamb chop and then using a sharp knife and … Read more »

  • My 4 year old son suffers from constipation...

    Most 4 year old children need around 70-80mls of fluid per kilogram of body weight. So you need to encourage him to increase his fluids. Fluids can also be included into foods such as soups, sauces, jelly and stewed fruit with natural juice. Constipation can also be due to a lack of dietary fibre. So … Read more »

  • My 2 year old son is dairy intolerant when...

    If your child has lactose intolerance (evidenced by diarrhea and bloating) then this is likely to persist into adulthood requiring your child to use lactose free milks e.g. soy in place of whole milk. However if it is the protein part of the milk which is the problem  resulting in symptoms such as skin irritations … Read more »

  • Which type of bread should I be giving my 2yr...

    Begin with white and then progress onto a light wholemeal by 2years. Once a child is five years they should be able to manage mixed grain bread such as used by other family members.

  • How long should I keep giving my two children...

    Generally children from 0-2years should be having breast milk or whole milk. Between the ages of 2-5yrs use Junior® or Mega Milks®. Then from 5yrs on Trim® or Calci-trim milk® is fine for everyone in the family. If your child is dairy intolerant then they need to be breast feed if possible for at least … Read more »

  • How can I get my child to eat more vegetables?

    Look first at how much you serve them. The 5+ NZ Vegetable Federation (Vegefed®) promotion encourages us all to eat 3 servings of vegetables and 2 fruits each day the size of the recipient’s hand, i.e. the size of your child’s hand not yours. Children can become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of food offered. … Read more »

  • My 4yr old boy refuses to try new foods. I...

    Keep a diary for a week and you will soon see where he is getting his kilojoules from. Try mixing new foods in with those that are already familiar. For instance, if he will eat a cheese toasted sandwich try adding crushed pineapple to it. If he eats mashed potato try adding parsley or cheese … Read more »

  • My 10mth old daughter seems to gag on lumpy...

    Children need to chew in order to develop strong teeth, gums and jaw. Introduce lumpy food around 9mths of age. Start with stewed apple as when cooked this can be taken from a puree/sauce consistency through to mashed and sliced/translucent stage. When at the final sliced / translucent stage place a piece of this apple … Read more »

  • Why is it that after a very good meal at night...

    This is quite a common concern. When people are rushing around all day their mind is focused on their work and so they take less time over their meals and often don’t recognize that they are hungry until they get home. Try having a berry or banana milkshake (using calcium enriched low fat milk, vanilla … Read more »

  • I’m convinced that skipping meals and eating...

    These are certainly common reasons for weight gain. Begin with a substantial breakfast of cereal, fruit and yoghurt. Add toast if you are unable to have something to eat mid morning. Try to take a packed lunch that includes some protein rich food e.g. a roll filled with tuna, cheese or egg and salad and … Read more »

  • Is it true that it is harder for overweight...

    Generally yes. This is because as organs such as the liver, gall bladder and pancreas age they tend to secrete less pancreatic enzymes, bile acids and salts than they did when they were younger. Therefore dietary sugar and fat are digested less efficiently by these secretions leading to weight gain. As people age they may … Read more »

  • Every time I go onto a diet I end up eating...

    It is time to stop looking at weight loss as “dieting” (going without) and instead recognize that you have a health problem that only you can fix. No one else can swallow for you. You are carrying more fat than you can process at anyone time. Think of the excess fat you have collected around … Read more »

  • We have fish and chips for tea most Friday...

    A meal comprised of 2 pieces of battered fish and a handful of chips contains around 95g of fat (most of which is saturated fat), compared to a hamburger (a burger bun, meat patty, onion rings and salad) which contains around 15g. Most takeaways are fried in meat talo (saturated fat) rather than in oil … Read more »

  • I think that drinking too much wine is making...

    We use wine to celebrate success and commiserate with our friends when things go wrong. So drinking has become a big part of our culture today. Alcohol carries around 7 kilocalories per ml not far behind the energy value of fat (9 kilocalories per ml). So it’s not hard to see why weight is gained … Read more »

  • I’ve been on lots of diets in the past. I...

    Stop “dieting” and look at what you eat and when? Try to eat healthy meals regularly. When you label food as being “good” or “bad” then you tend to do the same with labeling your self. You are not a “good” or “bad” person based on the food that you eat but on who you … Read more »

  • High carbohydrate or high protein? Which diet...

    Both methods result in weight reduction. However a high protein diet over time can be injurious to your health. High protein diets tend to be higher in saturated fat and sodium risking your heart health. As these diets rely on very low carbohydrate intakes they lack dietary fibre essential for a healthy bowel. High protein … Read more »

  • My elderly mother is underweight. Should I...

    The answer is ‘no’ as she needs to build up muscle, not fatty deposits in her arteries. Increase her energy intake by offering low fat high protein foods such as milkshakes, milk puddings and more in-between snacks such as salmon sandwiches or mini muffins. Offer scrambled egg or low fat cheese for breakfast and she … Read more »

  • Do I need to take Vitamin C pills to stop colds?

    There is no cure for the common cold. Irrespective of age most of us need only 30-40mgs of Vitamin C each day. One kiwifruit contains 65mgs. So if you eat two raw fruits and have a serving of raw vegetables each day, you’ll take in more Vitamin C than you can absorb.

  • My four-month old baby wakes at night. Should...

    Often mothers lose confidence in their ability to produce sufficient breast milk to meet the needs of their growing baby but they shouldn’t. Breast milk is the very best start you can give your baby so continue to feed on demand until your baby is 6 months old. Then slowly introduce cereals and fruit offering … Read more »

  • I’ve told by husband he needs to diet...

    You can’t change other people’s behaviour only your own. The word ‘diet’ often makes people think they have to eat less, when in fact they just need to learn to eat more healthy foods in the appropriate quantities at the right times. Rather than nagging him, buy lower fat foods, encourage exercise, offer plenty of … Read more »

  • My two year old chews meat and then spits it...

    Probably not as the meat needs to be swallowed. Young children have deciduous (baby) teeth not steak knives in their mouths. Try offering softer versions of meat such as pate, mince or diced casseroled meat.

  • How can I improve my calcium intake when I’m...

    Ask yourself first if it is just a habit or due to allergy or intolerance. If it is just that you’re not in the habit of drinking milk then making milkshakes with trim milk and fruit (such as banana, peach or berries) or Milo® for a snack after school or work should help. If you … Read more »

  • What is the difference between a dietitian...

    A dietitian is trained specifically in the use of diet therapy to help combat various disease states. In New Zealand every practicing dietitian has to be registered with the Dietitians Board in New Zealand and is protected by an act in Parliament. In order to qualify for registration applicants must have completed a three-year Bachelor … Read more »

  • What is a dietitian?

    A registered professional, trained in the science of nutrition and diet therapy, qualified to work in areas that require nutritional assessment and counselling. A dietitian may work in a variety of settings ranging from clinical, community nutrition and sports or medical representatives to the food industry, research and education. Effective nutritional management strategies, based upon … Read more »

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