With the recent closing of the Olympics, the excitement from watching our athletic heroes still stirs. It is undoubtedly inspiring that these select Americans can shine on such a spectacular platform…but what gets them there? Out of the entire Unites States population, only 555 Americans made it to Rio to compete in the Summer Olympic Games. Interestingly enough, 21 percent or 121 of those Olympians hail from California. There is obviously something different about these super athletes that separates them from the rest of the crowd, which we can incorporate into our lives.
As a new school year beings, set up goals for the upcoming year with your children. Nutrition is a major area of focus for athletes, and it can be one for your children too.
Meeting nutrition requirements by consuming balanced meals is a major contributor to the success of athletes, so is hydration. The same applies to ourselves and our children. Luckily we do not all need to consume 12,000 calories per day to maintain our daily balance and to support our nutrition needs like Michael Phelps (that is a lot of food).
To maintain balance, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests to:
"Focus on variety amount, and nutrition;
Choose foods and beverages with less saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars;
Start with small changes to build healthier eating styles.”
We can achieve healthier eating by making small changes such as:
Adding fruit to breakfast;
Trying new vegetables;
Replacing whole milk with 1% fat or nonfat milk;
Drinking water instead of juice or soft drinks; or
Incorporating snacks similar to those offered in schools.
All of these adjustments in your child’s eating patterns can help them learn more about improving their health and become daily habits.
For hydration the following amount of fluid per day is recommended per Popkin et al. (2010) from the Department of Nutrition at University of North Carolina:
Fluid intake requirements increases with age and varies by gender.
All together, balanced nutrition and proper hydration will help us to push further to our goals.
Popkin, B.M., D’Anci, K.E., and Rosenberg, I.H. (2010). Water, Hydration and Health. Nutrition Reviews, 68(8), 439-458.
United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA). Choose MyPlate.gov. Accessed September 2017. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/