That's right....almost 200 High School kiddos in the Jacksonville area (divided among 5 schools) are training for their first or second half marathon - 26.2 with Donna.
Even if you exercise daily or train for a sporting event at an age-group level, it is likely that while you are working for 8-10 hours a day, the primary times that you get up out of your chair is to eat or use the restroom. There's a lot of research on sitting too much but I also believe that we would have more energy if we had a balanced lifestyle....good restful sleep, stress management, healthy work and home environments, consistent exercise and a diet to support individual lifestyle, health and performance needs.
Carbohydrates like grains, starches and fruits and veggies give the body energy and keep the immune system strong to prevent sickness and reduce risk for disease. We want to keep the body in great health so that we can make sure all our dreams come true as we get older.
Proteins like fish, lean meat, beans, lentils, milk, yogurt and tofu/tempeh are all great options to keep the muscles strong and to help with appetite control.
Fats are not bad and can be wonderful for the heart. Without them, food wouldn't taste that good and we would be hungry all day long. Nuts, seeds, oils, avocados and nut butters are a few that can be enjoyed with meals to keep the tummy happy.
To help with energy before workouts, encourage kiddos to have a small pre workout snack - something that will digest well and will not cause stomach discomfort. Keep it simple and easy to consume, like a PB&J sandwich or a small wrap. Other simple options include cheese and crackers and a piece of fruit or yogurt and raisins.
During the workout, kids should emphasize water and encourage kids to stay hydrated all day long.
Post workout, don't let the child "wait" for dinner - have a post workout snack ready such as a chocolate milk (low fat), low fat milk w/ cheerios or a banana with yogurt. Again, be sure the food is tolerable post workout and leaves enough room for the next meal to nourish the body.
As you work on inspiring your children, consider your own personal diet. Consider the snacks you are eating as well as meal time. Is there a connection between your eating habits and energy levels? Do you eat with a plan and a purpose and do you expect willpower to be your #1 reason to stop changing habits? Create a positive food environment and set yourself up for success.
Any questions or concerns about kids and nutrition? Feel free to send me an email.