A different kind of hunger games

The weather is still keeping in most parts of the UK and so far we have managed almost an entire week of sunshine. It has been such a welcome relief from the dreary winter and like many other parents, I have been taking advantage of it and have enjoyed watching my children play in their final rugby matches of the season without the need for hats and gloves. However, with the beginning of training and fixtures for different summer school sports plus the overlap in sports seasons with club rugby soon ending, athletics starting and road cycling already underway, it becomes a bit of a logistical nightmare to plan around who is doing what and when. And it is just when you think you have rides and meals organised, when things don’t go to plan. Especially when it comes to hunger.

If you are the parent of a teenager going through a growth spurt, you will recognise the fury in their eyes when they are so beyond hunger that they are practically hysterical. It does not matter that they have eaten not that long ago at a friend’s house, and insisted that they had eaten enough before they went to their training. They have now returned and have become irrational, belligerent even slightly deranged. In these moments, it is more important to get something inside them than trying to reason with them or think of a good comeback to their sarcasm because you sense that they will soon eat you.

Another child, a different day, also incredibly hungry and cranky. They are playing in a sports tournament shortly and I am just about to leave so I can go watch them play when they ring me to say that they are starving hungry and I must bring a big sandwich with me, immediately. It does not matter that they ate well at lunch or that they are going to be playing rugby for the next hour and a sandwich may not be the best idea. It’s almost 4pm, no—they didn’t bring a snack to eat before the game, the clock is ticking and the conversation is getting heated. There is no point in trying to win this battle and for the second time this week, I have to very quickly make something that will fight hunger fast.

Without having any time to spare on either day, I resorted to making the quickest snack I could think of—a smoothie. For the child who was starving after training, some carbs with a bit of protein in the form of a Peanut butter & banana smoothie made a good recovery drink and bought me some time before making dinner. For the one about to play sport, it had to be a Berry banana smoothie, which was digested easily so it didn’t reappear on the rugby pitch after a hard tackle. This doesn’t mean that when I presented the freshly made smoothie, I wasn’t greeted with a ‘So you didn’t bring me a sandwich?!!’ But the silent bear hug I received after it was consumed was priceless. And although like the weather, the brightness of a child’s mood may not last forever, at least the right smoothie can help to temporarily win the hunger games.

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