Para athletes get a taste for cooking

Singapore cerebral palsy football captain Khairul Anwar captain making muesli balls under the guidance of Singapore Sports Institute associate sport dietitian Cheryl Teo last night. The workshop was the second conducted on eating for recovery.
Singapore cerebral palsy football captain Khairul Anwar captain making muesli balls under the guidance of Singapore Sports Institute associate sport dietitian Cheryl Teo last night. The workshop was the second conducted on eating for recovery.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
(From left) Singapore Sports institute dietician Cheryl Teo, 27, helping Mr Taufiq Tilo, 26, pan fry a chicken breast.
(From left) Singapore Sports institute dietician Cheryl Teo, 27, helping Mr Taufiq Tilo, 26, pan fry a chicken breast. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
(From left) Mr Muhammad Mubarak, 23, cooking chicken breast with the help of Singapore Sports Institute dietician Ang Sin Hwee, 26, while Mr Jeremiah Tan, 20, makes fried rice.
(From left) Mr Muhammad Mubarak, 23, cooking chicken breast with the help of Singapore Sports Institute dietician Ang Sin Hwee, 26, while Mr Jeremiah Tan, 20, makes fried rice.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The preparations of Singapore's para-athletes are in full swing for the Dec 3-9 Asean Para Games.

But there is still time for a bit of light-heartedness amid the seriousness for the Singapore cerebral palsy (CP) football team.

This came last night in the form of a nutrition workshop, held at the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) Sports Nutrition Laboratory, which involved a MasterChef-style "cook-off" among the players.

The evening started with a briefing about the importance of recovery foods, which was followed by a demonstration by the dieticians.

The footballers were then split into two groups of five for a MasterChef-style cook-off, where they had to cook chicken fried rice, pasta with prawns in creamy tomato sauce and homemade muesli balls, while following recipes.

The winners were the team comprising vice-captain Muhammad Mubarak, Muhammad Shafiq, Suhaimi Sudar, Peter Kam and Jeremiah Tan.

They were given the nod based on taste, presentation, efficiency and how well they marketed the dish to coach Mohamed Zainudeen, assistant coach and team manager Leonard Tan and support staff Yip Siu Ming.

Said midfielder Shafiq, 22: "I don't really cook. This comes in useful when my parents are out.

"The event was great because we get to gel together."

Zainudeen said: "This session saw the boys working together under time pressure. It's very important that the players build camaraderie through different activities as teamwork is essential."

The two-hour workshop was conducted by Cheryl Teo, associate sport dietitian at the SSI, and the team of sport dietitians.

Teo said: "If athletes eat food that helps them recover well after training, their bodies adapt better."

She added that recovery food should be eaten within half an hour of the end of a training session or competition.

She added: "Recovery food should comprise protein, carbohydrates, antioxidants, fluids and electrolytes to replenish what was lost during the training session.

"An easy recovery snack could be a packet of low-fat flavoured milk, or a peanut butter-banana sandwich."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2015, with the headline 'Para athletes get a taste for cooking'. Print Edition | Subscribe