We get the right gloves and helmets, and pads to protect them on the outside, but are we doing all that we can to make them strong on the inside?
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Serve a variety of healthy foods to make sure they're getting enough protein(from meat, eggs, and dairy); carbohydrates (from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains); vitamins (from fruits and vegetables; and minerals like calcium (from dairy products). Healthy fats from meats, cheeses, nuts, oils, and butter are needed, too.
- Kids who practice and play a lot may need more food, because they are burning more calories.
Children ages 6 to 12 generally need between 1,600 and 2,500 calories a day.
- It's also especially important for active kids to get calcium and iron to build strong bones, and energy.
- Athletes need to drink water before, during, and after the practice or game. Being hydrated allows our bodies to function at their best levels. Water is the best way to stay hydrated, fruit drinks mixed with water and sports drinks are OK once in a while, but they often include lots of extra sugar and calories.
It's best to eat at least 2 hours before the practice or game so that your child's body has time to digest the food, and is able to use energy needed to play when the time comes.
Find out how much you need to be eating of what foods, get a customized pyramid plan, meals ideas and more at MyPyramid.gov
Keep these things on your plate to make sure you grow stronger as you grow older!
Greens contain nutrients like folate and calcium that help keep bones, the brain, and the eyes strong and healthy. Levels of nutrients in broccoli and cabbage have been shown to protect against memory loss and to lower the risk of certain cancers.
2. Whole Grains
It takes our bodies longer to digest whole grains, so replacing processed grains with whole grains can help to prevent high blood sugar and diabetes. Whole gains contains lots of good fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants which can lower the risk of heart disease and some cancers.
Berries are full of antioxidants which have been shown to sharpen brain power, improve muscle tone, and slow the growth of certain cancers.
4. Tomatoes (and other red fruits)
Red fruits contain an antioxidant called lycopene which may reduce the risks of various cancers, and heart disease; as well as improve skin tone and texture.
You've heard about omega-3 fatty acids? They are contained in oily fish, and have been proven to support brain function, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and stroke.
You only need a small handful to get the benefits of nuts. Nuts contain good fats, as well as vitamins and protein that help to keep your heart and brain healthy.
7. Olive Oil
Olive oil is considered a healthy fat, full of antioxidants which help heart and brain health, as well as a reduction of cancer risk.
The acai (say it like this: ah-‘sigh-ee) berry has been around for thousands of years, first used by people in the Amazon jungle as a medicine, to cure various illnesses. The acai berry is a natural antioxidant, it has also been found to help control cholesterol controller, strengthen the immune system, and protect the heart, and boost energy.
Acai berries grow on palm trees, hanging in clusters from long branches. The popularity of the berry in our part of the world has pushed it as one of the most important financial products in Brazil. Tens of thousands of people are employed to help keep up with the demand for acai berries.
Called the miracle fruit; the acai berry has a rich berry taste with a hint of chocolate! It contains protein, fiber, vitamin E, essential Omega oils, and minerals.
You can find the acai berry in juice, health bars, snacks, and supplements.
It continues to get a lot of publicity, especially with celebrities like Oprah endorsing its benefits.
Make sure to research acia berry products before you buy them, look for pure, authentic ingredients, and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about any health claims.