Kadlec began by explaining to the 34 elementary school children from the “lion class” at GGS how important a healthy diet is for recovery, energy levels, general health, and the growth of the body. Full of curiosity and fascination, the pupils listened to the presentation and learnt what is important when it comes to nutrition and hydration.
In a game of “nutrition Memory”, Puerta and Wieder helped the children categorise different foods as “carbohydrates”, “proteins” and “fats”. Once the three groups had been formed, they adjusted a few categorisations with the help of Kadlec – and learnt what they should pay particular attention to in their own school diet. As a reward for their attentive listening, the Bayer 04 professionals then handed out delicious oat energy balls.
On top of this, Wieder – who named banana bread as her favourite snack – and banana lover Puerta gave the kids a few additional nutrition tips, as well as entertaining the kids with football tricks. Finally, Brian the Lion entered the room as a surprise guest. Together with Puerta and Wieder, the Bayer 04 mascot was then available to answer questions, sign autographs and take photos, leaving every child with a smile on their face in Küppersteg.
In the Werkself’s match against Bochum on Wednesday, 20 December (kick-off: 20:30 CET), which is also their last game before the Christmas break, Küppersteg will be the third of six Leverkusen districts to come under the spotlight this season.
Nutrition expert Kadlec drew an all-round positive conclusion. “It's about developing an awareness of healthy eating among children at an early age and motivating them to keep it up so that they realise that this topic is hugely important for their growth and development." She continues: “Especially if you want to become an athlete, this building block is essential. We place great emphasis on this at the club.” The presence of the two professionals on site certainly emphasised the point. “They act as important role models and communicate the topic of nutrition in a credible way,” says Kadlec.
Bayer 04 striker Wieder also listened closely to the nutritionist's explanations. “A healthy diet is extremely important for me in order to improve my performance, recover better and be better supplied with energy during matches,” emphasised Wieder. “Healthy eating also plays a major role in everyday training, and we have developed very specific rituals on match day.” She found the visit to the school “very important because nutrition also has a major influence on children's health and growth”.
Puerta added: “For us athletes, it’s a fundamental part of recovering well. It also has a major impact on our on-pitch performance.” The midfielder was therefore happy to support the workshop together with the children. “So much is going on at that age and the immune system is developing. That’s why it’s particularly important to eat a healthy diet,” said the Colombian: “I practise this in my everyday life and make sure I get enough nutrients.”
During the current and following season, Bayer 04 is organising its first district matchdays. Around selected Bundesliga home games of the Werkself, activities with members of the first teams will take place in a Leverkusen neighbourhood, including visits to kindergartens or schools as well as fan festivals and competitions.
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