Unicef: Steven Adams on his diet, mastering scrambled eggs and why all kids need good food

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NBA player Steven Adams seriously loves food. On the eve of World Food Day, Steven talks to Unicef New Zealand about his diet, mastering Gordon Ramsay’s scrambled eggs and why all kids need good food.

Because of the amount I’m playing and the workload that I do every day, I’m constantly eating. I really love food!

Diet is important, but it goes hand in hand with exercise. You’ve got to use the energy in your body and burn the calories. I work out a lot so I can occasionally eat French toast but I don’t eat fast food. It all comes down to discipline.

My trainer doesn’t recommend a certain number of calories I need to consume every day or the exact foods I need to eat, but of course fruit and vegetables are important. My rule of thumb is for every portion of meat, you have two portions of vegetables. It’s a nice easy principle to follow and it works for me.

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I’ll tell you what is bloody good is a boil-up!

A boil-up is basically a hot pot, it’s a Māori dish containing watercress, pork bones and then dough boys (made from flour, salt and water) if you want to get some carbs in there. It can be healthy, and you just have to throw in a ton of vegetables – a ridiculous amount of bok choy and watercress. You don’t add too much salt.

Kiwi food can be really high in sodium, particularly in take-away meals like chop suey. Pies can be pretty brutal as well. The problem is the convenience of them and the price, that’s why people eat them. They’re cheap and they fill you up. It can be hard for families who are struggling financially to buy healthy food as it’s so expensive. It’s a tough situation and a very, very big issue to tackle.

As a professional athlete, Steven Adams eats a lot of nutritious food to give him the energy to compete in the NBA.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As a professional athlete, Steven Adams eats a lot of nutritious food to give him the energy to compete in the NBA.

My Dad was a Brit so he believed in bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie and mince stew. We usually did the old school joint of the Sunday roast. There were five of us and we would all sit down to eat at three o’clock in the afternoon, that’s how the old man had it. Gravy and mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, roast chicken. It was good quality family time.

Now that I’m a professional athlete, my diet is very different to when I was a kid.

Watermelon is my go-to. I usually crush watermelon really hard throughout the season. There’s always watermelon and different fruits and it’s already chopped up, quite convenient actually! It’s a good way to get electrolytes naturally. If you really want to get technical, it’s loaded with vitamins A, B6 and C and it’s low in sodium. Kiwifruit is also great for Vitamin C as well.

My sister Val has got all this healthy stuff down to a tea. Our sports are different and the NBA competition time is much longer so our diets are different. You have to do what works for you and we all extract nutrients differently from food.

Breakfast is important and I’m a master at cooking scrambled eggs. I followed Gordon Ramsay, exactly how he does it. You have to take your time with eggs. You don’t just crack the eggs open and mix it, you have to put it on the heat, mix it, take it off the heat, mix it. It sounds weird but it works.

I don’t have children, but it is so crucial that children get good food, especially in the developing stages. I’ve spent a lot of time on farms. We give calves the best nutrients possible, better than what the cows get. In farming, calves are your future investment – they are developing and you need them to grow nice, healthy, big and strong and reach their full potential.

It’s a similar concept with kids – they need to have all the right nutrition so they can be energetic. They need good gut health, the right bacteria and a strong immune system. This is why Unicef’s work and World Food Day is important, to highlight the need for good nutrition.

Usually people associate American cuisine with burgers, but it’s great hearing a lot of the international players in the NBA talk about the food from their home countries like Serbia, Ethiopia, Italy and all around the world. Food unites us and I eat a lot of it.

Join Steven and post a photo on social media of your breakfast on October 16, World Food

Day #UNICEFNZ #FoodUnitesUs

This article was supplied as part of Stuff’s partnership with Unicef NZ. Unicef stands up for every child so they can have a childhood. Find out more at unicef.org.nz

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