Focus on Daily Nutrition
Becoming a champion and crossing the finish line for the 26th mile is a long process. Creating healthy habits and eating properly is just part of the process to becoming a champion. Being a good athlete requires more than just eating the right foods before, during, and after an event. It is important to eat right every day to avoid illness and injury, to do well in school, and to perform your best as an athlete. Focus on what you’re eating at each meal, each day. Each meal is an opportunity to support the process of becoming a champion.
Focus on How Nutrition Impacts Health
Many athletes, from beginners to professionals, have said “I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight.” However, the focus of nutrition should be on its importance to health, not how it impacts weight. The body gets its energy from food, which should provide a variety of vitamins and minerals. Rather than thinking about how food impacts weight, focus on how food can:
- Support healthy growth and development to grow big and strong.
- Build a strong immune system to keep you from getting sick.
- Help you heal after getting injured.
- Help you think clearly and perform your best in school.
- Keep your bones strong.
- Build strong muscles.
Focus on How Nutrition Impacts Performance
Nutrition can have a huge impact on performance. Once you’ve focused on and conquered eating properly throughout the day, it’s important to make sure you’re eating properly before, during, and after your event. Eating properly can:
- Increase energy while exercising, running, and playing.
- Help your muscles feel better (no soreness!) after exercising.
- Help you build strong muscles.
January Tip: Participating in the Flying Pig Kids Marathon has many benefits, and receiving important nutrition information is just one of those benefits. Children have many energy needs – energy to learn and focus in school, energy to grow and mature, and energy to support training for the Kids Marathon. Unfortunately, many kids aren’t fueling their body enough to support brain function and proper growth. With the additional energy needed to complete the Kids Marathon, it is even more important to help children establish proper eating habits. Help children understand that eating the right foods is important to do well in school, grow up to be big and strong, and to cross the finish line on Saturday, May 5th. Our coordinator packet will walk you through teaching children the importance of proper nutrition.
February Tip: Let’s build strong bodies! Hopefully we’re nearing the end of cold and flu season, but don’t let these illnesses impact the productivity of participating in the Flying Pig Kids Marathon. There are many nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that can help build strong immune systems. Add some of these immune-boosting foods into the diet of your kids:
- Yogurt – Yogurt contains healthy germs called probiotics. These balance out the harmful germs that can find their way into the stomach and help keep you healthy.
- Fruits and vegetables – Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C, which can help decrease the length of your cold.
- Nuts – Nuts contain vitamin E, selenium, copper, manganese, zinc, and iron, all important nutrients in building a healthy immune system. Combining iron-rich foods with vitamin C actually helps absorption! For an immune-boosting meal, try some orange juice with a handful of almonds.
March Tip: Focus on daily nutrition. Becoming a champion and crossing the finish line for the 26th mile is a long process. Creating healthy habits and eating properly is just part of the process to becoming a champion. Being a good athlete requires more than just eating the right foods before, during, and after an event. Help your group focus on the importance of eating right every day to avoid illness and injury, to do well in school, and to perform their best as an athlete. Focus on what you’re eating at each meal, each day. Each meal is an opportunity to support the process of becoming a champion.
Check out the coordinator packet for tips on preparing a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as snack tips!
April Tip: Children have many energy needs – energy to learn and focus in school, energy to grow and mature, and energy to support training for the Kids Marathon. Carbohydrates provide our bodies with energy. They are the main fuel source for working muscles and your brain. Children should focus on complex carbohydrates, and avoid simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates provide vitamins and minerals, and will fuel your body and brain for a longer period of time as opposed to simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates provide a quick fuel boost, but then energy quickly drops.
Encourage children to eat healthy carbohydrates like brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, fruits, vegetables, and milk. Check out the coordinator packet for different kid-friendly recipes containing carbohydrates.
Race Week Nutrition Tip: Race day is upon us! Encourage your group to focus on drinking plenty of water this week, eating fruits and vegetables, choosing whole grains, and getting in calcium. We want their bodies well-rested and fueled to complete the 26th mile! The night before the race, they should eat a meal that feeds their body and bones – making sure it contains a protein, whole grain, fruit, vegetable, and dairy. Their meal doesn’t have to be significantly bigger than their typical dinner. In fact, eating too much the night before their event could give them an upset stomach. Encourage an early bedtime the night before the race so they are well-rested! The morning of the race they should have a typical breakfast – some toast, cereal, or pancakes (not loaded with butter). Don’t forget to add water to dinner and breakfast. Good luck!!
About Ashley Meuser, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, CLT:
Ashley Meuser is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, and Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. Ashley received a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition from The Ohio State University, a Master’s Degree from the University of Cincinnati, and completed a Dietetic Internship at Indiana University – Purdue University, Indianapolis. Part of her internship was spent in Orlando working with the Sports Dietitians for the University of Central Florida (UCF) athletics, and the Orlando Magic. She is currently the dietitian for the Flying Pig Marathon events and the dietitian for the Cincinnati Reds minor league teams. Ashley loves running and is running in the Boston Marathon in 2018! She is also training for the Flying Pig Marathon with Fleet Feet Sports Cincinnati. May 6, 2018 will mark her 5th full Flying Pig and 10th full marathon. She is excited to make an impact on the young runners/walkers completing the Kids Marathon Nutrition Challenge and participating in the 26th mile on Flying Pig weekend.
Questions? Email Ashleymeuser.firstname.lastname@example.org