Top Euro soccer stars inspire children with Eat for Goals! recipe book

Simon Meadows

Last updated 10/1/2008 11:50:12 AM

Europe's top footballers are putting their names to a new cookbook for children aimed at encouraging them eat healthily by being inspired by their role models.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and the World Heart Federation are overseeing the project, with the support of the European Commission.

In Eat for Goals! a multicultural group of 13 internationally renowned male and female football players including Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Steven Gerrard and Thierry Henry, share what they love to eat and give recipes for their favourite dishes.

A detailed list of the ingredients and step-by-step instructions for preparing each of the 13 dishes makes it easy for even the less-experienced child to make delicious, healthy meals.

And for those who want to know more about the relationship between a balanced, healthy diet and performance, which is crucial to footballers, the book gives the nutritional values per portion and plenty of food tips.

Steven Gerrard, captain of FC Liverpool, said: "Eat for Goals! shows young players and lovers of football how to cook and eat like champions." And Ruud van Nistelrooy, from FC Real Madrid, said: "It's vital that children have a healthy lifestyle based onhealthy food and exercise. I'm looking forward to cooking the recipesin Eat for Goals! with my children when they're older."

Children are increasingly adopting unhealthy lifestyles and the current annual rate of increase of childhood obesity in Europe is ten times higher than in the 1970s.

"The world of football has long inspired people of any age and gender to exercise. It has now set out to inspire them to eat well too," said William Gaillard, from UEFA.

Professor Pekka Puska, president elect of the World Heart Federation added: "Twenty per cent of all European children are currently overweight, showing how important initiatives such as Eat for Goals! are as they encourage healthy nutrition and active lifestyles among children and their parents in a fun and inspirational way."

The European Commission says views activities that encourage healthy lifestyles among children as an investment in the future of Europe.

Purchasers of the book will be helping more children as UEFA will donate one Euro from the sale of each book in support of the World Heart Federation's programmes encouraging children to be physically active.