With March Madness upon us, we are once again reminded that sports are an important part of life for most of our kids (and us adults too!). As devoted parents, we support their passions with endless car rides, innovative snacks, healthy meals and hours watching them play. And as winter is waning, many of us are faced with final tournaments to close out the season.
The pressure is building for the young athletes at my house as they are feeling the weight of the responsibility to win the next big championship. I feel a little helpless watching my stressed out offspring and I find myself wondering what I can do to help. Lately, I’ve been turning to my stove to offer some relief. Food, after all, offers a stress-free cure to most pressures and anxiety!
HealthCastle.com provided me some ideas on what foods to prepare during this time of competitive tournaments and competitions, and this is what I’ve learned:
Oatmeal contains valuable fiber and whole grains and is packed with carbohydrates – a critical energy source for our young athletes. And with a heart-healthy bowl of oatmeal for breakfast the kids will maintain energy for a longer period of time while also getting their B vitamin, another important source of energy.
I have been adding yogurt and blueberries to my kids’ lunchboxes after I learned about the super qualities of these healthy snacks. The kids add the blueberries into their yogurt and receive important health benefits to support healthy bones and muscle metabolism. Blueberries are chock full of nutrients and antioxidants and help reduce oxidative damage to cells resulting from free radicals produced during periods of strenuous activity. And blueberries are a source of energy-enhancing carbohydrates and fiber to help sustain energy and keep our kids in the game.
Sweet potatoes and salmon are mainstays at our house, and I’ve become quite adept at cooking each of these fantastically healthy foods many different ways. Both can be baked, broiled or microwaved, and I experiment with various recipes so we won’t become sick and tired of either.
Sweet potatoes contain more of the antioxidant beta carotene than any other fruit or vegetable and aid in muscle recover among athletes. Salmon is a source of high-quality protein, iron and vitamin B12 – which is important for optimal athletic performance. In addition, omega 3 fatty acids (found in salmon) have anti-inflammatory effects, protecting against conditions such as arthritis.
So kudos to all the moms out there who leave their stoves to cheer on a favorite athlete in the next big championship game. It feels good knowing that the kids are fueled and ready to go with tummies full of energy and healthy fibers, whole grains and vitamins.