Academy-cook whips up some fitness food

The Hertha BSC Football Academy takes a holistic approach to the training of its junior players. The Hertha BSC football academy chef plays a special role in this respect. Mach’ dich Hertha visited him in the AOK kitchen.

What do you do here in the Hertha BSC Football Academy?

My name is Jens Wegner, I'm 53 years old and the cook of the Hertha BSC football academy. I have been here for a year and am responsible for all youth teams and boarding school children.

What does your daily work look like?

I usually do breakfast, lunch and dinner for the boarding school children and their caregivers. On training days, when the teams train twice, they come for lunch. In that case I’m also responsible for them.

At noon, six people also receive special food because they have different dietary requirements or intolerances to certain foods. In addition, the U23s come twice a week , of which there are about 30 people. For those I cook a well-balanced lunch with dessert like semolina pudding or cake. There is always fresh fruit, as well as a bit of salad.

What do you pay attention to when cooking?

First of all, it is important to me that it is fresh and well cultivated. That's why we don’t use pork, for example. There are hardly any good deals for large-scale consumption, and in some cases there is also the question of religion. I prepare many dishes with poultry, also beef and veal are occasionally available. I serve it with delicious vegetables and I always vary a bit. The dessert is always slightly unhealthy of course, but whilst the boys shouldn’t give up sugar completely, I try to give it to them in moderation. Sugar is also energy and that's what players need.

What's so special about sports nutrition?

It’s better if the food contains many carbohydrates and a lot of protein. When it comes to carbohydrates, what you need can sometimes vary. There is always the question: What do I need at the moment? There are short and long chain carbohydrates. Pasta, for example, are short-chained. Oats, however, are long-chained. So if you eat gruel or muesli with fruits in the morning, it will keep you full longer and you will have more energy. Noodles, on the other hand, only provide a short burst of energy. We have hot food twice a day, but that is also because there are usually two different groups of lads that come in.

I always try to cook as healthy as possible, but of course I try and keep up with current trends. For example, Amaranth and Quinoa are currently in. But of course I have to give them what they want as well because many of them turn their noses up if they don’t recognise something I put in.

Would you say that you teach the guys healthy eating habits?

Yes, because above all, a balanced diet is what they require. For example, we have had the case that a young player is a bit overweight so I sat down with him and analysed what it could be, and then we decided that we would do without gluten.

In addition, we have put a stop to the lads eating out of boredom. That player now always have a vegetable in his meals and takes a piece of fruit after dinner for if he gets hungry.

[Translate to English:] Spaghetti

Get informed on nutrition!

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