The Olympics is a perfect time to teach your children about nutrition, especially those who refuse to eat anything colorful, you know, like a vegetable.
By this stage in the Olympics, at least one of your children, or a child you know, is dreaming of being an Olympic Athlete. And what child wouldn’t, after watching the speed skaters, the hockey players, the downhill ski racers, the figure skaters, and even the bob sled event? We’re here to HELP! Let your pint-sized dreamers know that it’s not all about training; it’s also all about what foods athletes put in their mouths.
For those kids who don’t like eating breakfast, it’s time to tell them that their blood sugar is low in the morning, so they need to eat immediately after getting out of bed (this may speed up the whole, “Just five more minutes!” thing in the morning, or having to push them off the bed to get ready for school!) According to www.fitnessmagazine.com you should at least start with a glass of apple juice and toast, and should add in protein, like cream cheese, peanut butter, or yogurt. Athletes should drink .5 to one ounce of water per pound of body weight every day. (This can be your math question for your kids today!)
They’ll need a good amount of antioxidants and super foods in their diets. Yes, this means, the more color on your plate the better. Greek Yogurt is also high in probiotics, another stay-healthy food.
Even the pros have a hard time keeping their iron count up, which slows you down. So include iron-packed meals like oatmeal, broccoli, read meat and spinach (“You want to be a professional athlete? Eat your spinach!”) These seven foods help runners repair muscle and maintain energy for example.
But you can also have fun with the blender! What child doesn’t like to experiment with blenders (hopefully remembering to put the top on!) to prepare workout recovery drinks (after they, let’s say, shovel you driveway for half an hour?) Buy the Just Like Home Blender set, so your young ones can pretend beside you, from www.toysrus.com. And buy frozen berries in bulk at www.costco.ca.
Present your child this Food Guide Pyramid, so they can learn the very basic of what a carbohydrate is, what a protein is, what is a fat, what a vitamin is, as well as the role of minerals and water. Also have them check out Athlete Profiles, which provides sample menus and the exercise regime of past Olympic athletes (Parents, it’s quite addictive!)
So when your kids complain about fruits and vegetables, tell them that an athlete’s meal plan has NINE fruit and vegetable servings EACH day. Check out www.delish.com to get your young ones to test their Olympic food smarts and some energy-boosting recipes for kids.
You could take this newfound interest in nutrition in another direction, as www.spoonful.com suggests, trying out International Recipes. Sure you may be watching from home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be involved, even at the dinner table. They suggest taking your family on a culinary trip around the world, Greek Loukoumades, Russian Winter Salad, Pierogies With Pizzazz, Japanese Chicken Yakitori to celebrate the Olympics. Hey, it’s more fun then fish sticks…again.
Of course, you’re mini Olympian has to be rewarded if they eat their colorful foods. Click on Mickey Medals for printable medals for giving it their all. Here’s to bringing home a medal for your pint-size healthy Olympian.