Feeding active kids

Feeding Active Kids

Many coaches struggle to get their athletes to eat properly. I believe it’s the job of us parents to provide nourishing choices for our kids. The coach’s job would be easier if the kids ate more whole natural foods because they would be able to focus better, have more energy, and have a positive attitude! Parents can help by encouraging children to eat whole unprocessed foods and by avoiding “JUNK” food. This will not only help them to become better athletes but they will benefit all through their lives.

With so many opinions and commercial interests it’s hard to know what is healthy for our kids. I am providing an opinion that I know has helped our family and many others. It’s basically eating like our Great-Great Grandparents did by staying away from the inside isles of our grocery stores where most of the processed food is.

Active children have increased energy needs. If proper nutrient-rich, whole foods are not eaten, then it can result in the body becoming depleted in the nutrients the body needs to grow. Some negative affects are fatigue, depression, delayed puberty, reduced bone density, increased in injuries, and risk of developing eating disorders. Tooth decay and an increase incidence of colds and flu are also possible. The Politically correct diet of high carbohydrates and low fat for athletes has been debated for many years. If we look at the diets of healthy cultures of the past, we will see that the children ate whole, unprocessed food which included meat and whole milk products from grass-fed animals, organ meats, eggs from pastured chickens, wild seafood, and properly prepared organic whole grains (sourdough, sprouted or soaked), unrefined sea salt, good traditional fats, and seasonal organic fruits and vegetables. Check out some meal suggestions  and dietary advice for different ages.

Active kids need protein to build muscle and repair tissues, complex carbohydrates for fuel, and good traditional fats. Saturated fats are important for sustained energy, body-cell structure, nerve transmission, and vitamin and mineral transport. Strenuous physical exercise depletes vitamin A. The best source of this vitamin is in fats from healthy grass-fed animals. Fats eaten with carbohydrates will prevent blood sugar rises and dips. Vitamin A and D helps your body absorb the minerals in the food. So, have your fruit with cheese or cream and butter your steamed vegetables. Saturated fats also keep you warm and hydrated. The amount of fluid liberated from the metabolism of fats is way higher than from carbohydrates and protein. Your body can utilize the fluid metabolized from fat without over stressing the kidneys when too much water is drunk.

Now, go to your cupboards and refrigerators, and take a look at how many packaged food items you have. Try reading the ingredients. I once heard a wise old lady tell me that if you can’t pronounce it don’t eat it. It’s up to us parents to stock the house with whole, natural foods. Before feeding active kids the stuff in the grocery stores, ask yourself “Could my Great-Great Grandmother have eaten this?”

Photo on the right: My son ripping-it-up in the ski park when he was young.