With the 2012 London Summer Olympics commencing on Friday, many of us adults find ourselves inspired by the athletes’ talent, drive, and dedication. For our kids, however, the Olympic dream is still a possibility. So why not set your child up for success by serving them whole nutritious foods, which strengthen both the mind and body. Simply follow the below health tips and help fuel your own future Olympian!
Breakfast of Champions – Without question, breakfast is the meal that makes champions. Unfortunately, many busy families follow a lifestyle that eliminates breakfast or includes convenience foods that do not support medal-worthy performances. Just as you make the time to refuel your car with gasoline before a big trip, so too take the time to feed your child with nutrient dense foods before they start their day. Foods that combine carbohydrates and protein provide sustained energy and prevent kids from reaching for sugary snacks later in the day. Try oatmeal topped with berries and milk, an omelet with cheese and vegetables, or whole grain toast slathered with nut butter.
When in Rome – Do as the Romans do (or Brits, Spaniards, Japanese, etc.). Get inspired by the cuisine of other countries and try something other than sandwiches for lunch. The American sandwich is typically loaded with processed meats and cheeses, refined breads and condiments containing high fructose corn syrup. Instead, kids love finger foods so why not serve them their own version of tapas. Offer them a variety of whole foods, ranging in color and texture to tantalize even the pickiest eater. Try chopped vegetables and pita bread with hummus or ranch dressing, hard boiled eggs, fruit with yogurt for dipping, diced cheese, raisin or grapes, even olives.
Team Dinner – Team dinners provide athletes with a chance to get together and celebrate camaraderie and friendships built on the field. Similarly, families can benefit from sit-down dinners as a way to reconnect after a hectic day, share stories, discuss upcoming events, and simply laugh. Studies show that when families dine together they eat more fruits and vegetables and are less apt to be overweight. Further encourage team playing by having kids assist with setting the table and simple meal preparations. The more involved kids are in the process the more they will look forward to family dinnertime and follow this healthy living strategy in the future.
Keep the Olympic Flame Burning – Eating frequently is an important part of maintaining a strong and healthy metabolism in kids. The more active yours kids are, the more they need to stay fueled. Help keep your kids internal flame burning by having tasty, and nutritious snacks around that they can select for themselves. Designate an area in the fridge or cupboards that is well stocked with a variety of healthy snacks. In this way, they will learn how to control their appetite, stay energized, and benefit from optimum health.
Peak Performance with Proper Hydration -Make sure your kids are drinking ample amounts of water in order to stay hydrated, keep their digestion in check, boost immunity, and increase energy. Instead of sugary juice boxes, keep small water bottles next to their snacks. Our thirst mechanism is not particularly efficient so if you are feeling thirsty it means you are already dehydrated. Make sure kids drink before, during, and after activities to ensure peak performance. And remember to practice what you preach. If your kids see Mom and Dad drinking water they are much more likely to do the same.
Go Team USA!!!