We are very excited to introduce you to Kristyn Hall, our newest guest blogger! Kristyn is a dietitian in Calgary who is passionate about helping people discover the link between food and nutrition through adventures in the kitchen.
I am sure my kids think it is a disadvantage to have a dietitian as their mom. I, on the other hand, would prefer them to see it as their advantage to have me because I am their personal nutrition coach. Like many of you, I struggle with finding that magical balance of offering what I call “growing foods” – those nourishing foods that will help their bodies grow and develop – with the so-called “treat” foods. And while I personally think that pineapple and mangos are treats, both my kids have a different idea of what counts as a treat.
Teaching kids about healthy eating happens in everyday life. As the world prepares for the 22nd Winter Olympic Games, it is a great time to inspire kids to think about eating and sports, and how what they eat is related to how they feel before, during and after their activities. Whether it is dance, hockey, tennis, martial arts, swimming, or soccer, our young athletes can be encouraged to fuel their bodies with nourishing foods to help them in their sport. Both my kids play hockey, and so in our house, we call these foods “hockey foods”.
Kids need a balance of nutrients before and after their activities to help them do their best during sport, and for growth and development. Just like there are different kinds of fuel, oil, fluids and parts to make a car run, there are different kinds of foods needed for activities:
- Whole grains such as whole grain whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, whole grain barley, and whole grain baking; fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruits and vegetables.
- Protein-rich foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, beef, pork, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, eggs, legumes, tofu.
- Added fats such as butter, oils, nuts, nut butters and seeds.
- Water and other fluids.
This is not to say that “treat” foods don’t belong in a young athlete’s diet – they do, and I think we have to teach our kids how to include these kinds of foods to promote balanced eating. Rather, I encourage my kids to think about whether a particular food will help their bodies in their sport, and to notice how they feel when they have different kinds of foods. You can also find a sports person they admire and invite your child to think about what that person eats.
I often make this breakfast for my kid’s weekend hockey games. It is nutritious, balanced and will provide long-lasting fuel all morning.