FOOD plays a key role in the performance of Halton’s top athletes.

The World has teamed up with Widnes Vikings as part of our Let’s Cook: Healthy Halton campaign.

First team players have offered to share their recipes and tips on how to keep fit.

In the coming weeks we will be talking to Hep Cahill, Frank Winterstein, Kevin Brown, Gareth Hock and Danny Craven.

This week captain Jon Clarke spoke to the World about nutrition.

He has set up his own strength and conditioning business to help sporting stars of the future.

The ex-England player studied a sports science and masters degree in strength and conditioning.

Dad-of-two Jon, aged 33, who has a 10-year-old stepson and one-year-old daughter, said: “After playing rugby all your life and 18 years in an elilte sporting environment, it’s nice to give something back that you’ve learned along the way.”

He loves cooking and stressed the importance of a balanced diet.

The super league stalwart said: “The big thing is getting people to understand carbohydrates. That’s what causes obesity, not fat. Fats can be very useful.”

For breakfast, he has a poached or boiled egg with baked beans, and an oat based cereal, such as porridge. He avoids refined sugar cereals.

A chicken stir fry and noodles was a perfect lunch at Stobart Stadium on Monday, as the team prepares to take on the Catalans in France on Saturday.

He enjoys making chilli con carne and stir fries.

Jon added: “My advice is to buy the best quality of meat you can afford and plenty of fresh vegetables and salads.

“Stay away from additives and preservatives.”