After almost a year of working with young athletes, I must say I have wondered if I make a real difference in families lives after just a one-hour presentation…and then I got this email. I am sharing it with all of you (with her permission of course) because I want everyone to know change IS possible, and small steps towards better health will make a HUGE difference in your family’s well being! Thank you Gina for your beautiful testimonial, I am SO proud of you!
As a busy mother of 4 athletes, I was initially overwhelmed with the prospect of what and how to feed my children. Thank you for your practical nuggets of nutritional information. You’ve taken a complex field of data and made it work for our family. My goal was to build a foundation and make these elements part of our standard operating procedure. Here are the bite-‐sized tidbits that we’ve been able to incorporate:
Hydration-‐ Sipping instead of gulping and utilizing the hydration schedule was a great start. Now my athletes carry the half gallon Arrowhead container with them everywhere we go, including to all classes. Their teenage faces have cleared up and their beverage choices have improved. For example, last night I took 10 friends bowling. I offered to grab a couple of pitchers of soda…to my delight, my kids asked if we could get a couple of pitchers of ice water instead.
Consistency-‐ As a Varsity swimmer, my daughter was very conscientious about what she ate during the meets and my football players were very focused on the content of their pre-game meal. With your guidance, we realized that these food actions were merely ‘topping off the tank’ and that we needed to have a more dedicated effort to make sure our “glycogen tank” was at full capacity before the day of the event. With the help of better food choices and more well rounded meals, we have made significant improvements in this area. Better food choices for us include switching to wheat breads, changing to the Plus pastas and investing in a Vitamix (berry/spinach/yogurt smoothies every morning).
Post-‐game/prx nutrition-‐ In school, we encourage our kids to always go for the extra credit. In nutrition, I was missing out on this important post-‐game/prx extra credit opportunity. With your teachings, we learned about this golden window of time where glycogen is built at a faster rate (ie. extra credit for our energy storage). With this knowledge, I always make sure to have organic chocolate milk, cheese stick, apple or sunbutter sandwich available for my kids when I pick them up. We’ve had to change our ways from the slurpy at 7-‐11 and the drive thru burger to a more concentrated effort to have food that will help us in this golden window. Having the right food in the car saves money and is a better nutritional option.
Preparation-‐ The final tidbit that we have blended into our family routine rests mostly on me, the parent. I’ve had to change my habits and have a focused effort on being prepared. In the tidbits listed above, it is obvious how important it is for me to have good food choices available and accessible for my kids right when I pick them up. At home, I buy a large bag of carrots and separate them into smaller bags that I can easily throw in the lunch boxes or the back of the car. The kids can’t eat well, if I haven’t made the purchase, made it easy and made it accessible. I make sure that in addition to packed lunches, I also pack healthy snacks. When my daughter finishes morning swim, I make sure that we’ve packed her a Horizon milk with a bagel or banana. She happily eats these items rather than running to the Bistro for a donut. Involving my family in the preparation ensures that what I’m investing in is something they would be willing to eat. After 6 months, we have truly just begun the journey to better eating, but I can happily say that these four bite-‐sized nuggets are now part of how we operate in our family. This next round of focus for us is going to be on how to help each of the 6 of us with our own nutritional goals while being able to manage the process efficiently and economically. Thank you for your guidance. You have helped make this very scientific and somewhat daunting nutritional data something that we could easily understand and build into our family’s lifestyle.
Gina Hartigan, mother of 4 young athletes