Posts filed under kids health

Fueling your Young Athletes

If you have active kids, you are probably knee deep in kids sports. The practices, the traveling schedule, carpools and making sure they have all their gear ready for game day. It all adds up but the one thing parents tend to fall short on is what those little gremlins need to eat before, during and after the game.  Kids have to be properly fueled in order to play at their best. Below are some quick tips to fuel the athletes in your house and it's worked for my girls for over 10 years!

 

Feed your young athlete approximately 1-2 hours before competition.  

This gives the body plenty of time to digest and feed their little muscles. If time is of the essence, a quick protein snack 25 minutes before practice or a game will work too!

EARLY Saturday games = Bed time the night before is a bit earlier so they can rise and shine to fuel their bodies well before the game.

Early to Mid-afternoon games= Healthy breakfast (scrambled eggs, whole grain toast and grapes) and lunch (good old fashion PB&J or half a turkey sandwich w/spinach, mustard and a slice of cheddar cheese).

Late-afternoon games= Light afternoon snack (peanut butter and crackers, low sugar protein bars or fruit with crackers/bread)

Evening sports=  Nothing heavy. Again, simple sandwiches without a lot of dressings and a side of carrots would be perfect before a late game. 

Good food choices include the following:

  • Whole grain breads, pasta, cereal, bagels and even pancakes.  
  • A modest amount of low-fat protein in pre-game meals like low-fat milk, yogurt, an egg or chicken (grilled, not fried like high fat chicken nuggets) are great choices.  
  • Juices with low acidic levels, applesauce, grapes and bananas can keep kids moving throughout the game and particularly for the second half.    
  • Last, keep your kids hydrated.  Dehydration is uncomfortable, slows down performance and at times can be dangerous.  Here are suggestions I wish I had when I was a young athlete.

Pre-game: one to two cups of water (20-30 minutes before performance.

During the game: stay hydrated preferably with water or a low sugar sports drink.  Many sports drinks out there have too much sugar and can upset the stomach.   

After game time:  drink as much water as possible and refuel with a low sugar sports drink.  AVOID sports drinks that contain over 5% (approximately 14 grams) of sugar / soft drinks and juices can contain 10% sugar (about 25 grams).

You want your kids to be successful in sports, so start early and teach them how to take care of themselves by teaching them good eating habits on and off the court or field or "whatever they play on"! Happy Competition, Lil' Ones!

Good luck! Nic

CHILDHOOD OBESITY

                        Chart from www.obesityhelp.com

                       Chart from www.obesityhelp.com

We can make a change!

In recent news, Mrs. Obama has been getting a lot of heat for changing some of the federal dietary standards for school lunches.  These same standards were approved by Congress and the President in 2010. The new food standards have been changed to help set limits on sodium, fat and caloric intake for our kids.  Many lawmakers are now saying that it is inflexible, ineffective and expensive.  But we are talking about our children's health.  Right?

The nation's food pyramid has been the basic standard for Americans for nearly 20 years.  It wasn't until 2011 that the food pyramid was updated and upgraded to http://www.choosemyplate.gov.  You may agree or disagree with the change but helping our youth make better choices when it comes to food is the first step in taking better care of their health.

There is a problem with childhood obesity.  With our lives getting busier and both parents having to work, it can be hard to monitor what goes into our kids mouths, as well as how often. As parents and guardians we have a lot to worry about when it comes to our kids but the silent killer of food is something we can control and have an open discussion about food with our children. 

On average as adults, 80% of our nation is overweight.  Our nation is one of the only nation with an abundance of food.  We tend to abuse it for various reasons and celebrate it for obvious reasons.  When you put that together, you are already eating too much food.  With video games and television, kids are less  likely to head outside when they are in love with their electronics. Same with adults.  We have our blackberries, ipads and smartphones to occupy and rule our time.

As you know, the food pyramid has now been updated and easier to read.  If you go to ChooseMyPlate.gov you can get ideas on how to keep your kids on the right track and make sure they are eating the right foods throughout the day.  What is so great about this new program (if it follows through), the foods suggested on MyPlate will be implemented into our schools and hopefully teachers can stress the importance to our children as well.

There are also other programs that you can get your children involved in.  The local YMCA (http://www.ymca.org) has great summer camps, as well as, after school camps that will keep your kids moving and busy.  For girls who love to run, there is a program called GIRLS ON THE RUN (http://www.girlsontherun.org/) and it's a great way to keep girls active and connected with other girls throughout the running season.  Also, your local gyms have fantastic programs for kids similar to YMCA but can be sports oriented.  

As a personal trainer and running coach, just like adults, kids need to be active EVERY SINGLE DAY! Our bodies are made to move, jump and run.  30 minutes a day (at minimum) can easily be squeezed into a 24 hour day.  For more information on childhood obesity and signs that your child may be overweight check out the following link (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/basics.html)  and read more here as the week progresses!

Be Happy and Be Safe!

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