Family

All Black captain Kieran Read's tips for staying ahead of the game

The All Blacks hectic schedule means this father of three has to make sure his diet keeps him up to the job - but his main mission is to get his kids to enjoy healthy eating as much as he does.

By: Kelly Bertrand

He might be the captain of the All Blacks, but Kieran Read's first priority is, and always will be, his kids.

A dad to Elle (6), Eden (5) and one-year-old Reuben, Kieran's role as dad brings him the most joy – as he told the Weekly last year, the rugby's great, but he does it because of his family.

And as his kids get older, Kieran's taking an active interest in keeping them fit and healthy – and it's not just by encouraging them to pick up a rugby ball!

"It's not all rugby in our house, they're a bit young yet," Kieran (31) laughs.

"But they do enjoy throwing a ball around. My girls don't play any team sports at the moment – they both do a sports activity once a week after school which covers a whole lot of different sports. Elle is keen on basketball this year, and Eden wants to play football!"

As a Swisse wellness ambassador, Kieran is also on a mission to make sure the kids are getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals too, which is no mean feat when you're dealing with three active children who happen to have a heap of personality!

However, Kieran and his wife Bridget (32), who have been together since high school, reckon they're pretty lucky that their two daughters are, so far, supremely unfussy when it comes to food.

"We're really fortunate with the girls," he says with a smile.

"They eat really well. I don't know if it's just because we always had the veges in front of them and they just ate them, and then got used to them?

"There are definitely times when they have treats, but they naturally like fruit and veges, so we're lucky that they will often choose healthy foods rather than junk. They're more likely to ask for a cucumber or a carrot than lollies. I'm pretty sure that will change as they get older, though!"

Last year was a massive year for the All Black and Crusaders captain – a hectic international schedule wrapped around the Lions tour has meant a fairly draining period for the number eight, who also battled injuries that kept him sidelined for a few games.

So Kieran himself has to be fairly disciplined as to what goes into his body, especially during the busy rugby season. He follows a strict diet which sees him eat a stupendous amount of food – think 300g of protein just for lunch!

It's times like now – the off season – when he makes sure to utilise supplements, to support his diet, which is already pretty balanced.

"Broccoli is one of my favourite veges, so we eat a lot of that at home," he says.

"We also make sure we have a mix of proteins and good carbs. For example, chicken and rice, or pasta, with a good helping of veges is a staple for us."

And as to who is whipping up these gourmet delights for the family to enjoy?

"Look, I hold my own in the kitchen," Kieran laughs.

"But Bridget does most of it. I'm all right!"