Common Barriers to Healthy Eating: Post #1 [of many]

Common Barriers to Healthy Eating: Post #1 [of many]

A lot of times I work with youth athletes or parents that have younger children.  When learning about healthy eating habits, oftentimes there are situations a child or parent experience.  Within the next few posts, I will create common scenarios children, parents, and teens deal with on occasion.

Case #1: You arrive home early (before your parents) and you are not allowed to use the microwave or oven.  You are starving.  What healthy snacks could you eat?

Lunch during school is served anywhere from 10:00am to 1:30pm – leaving a child starving by the time they get home if earlier and also may off-set nutrient timing when it comes to fueling for sport.  Also, your caregiver may be working during the day in the summer months and you are left to fend for yourself in household.  It is import to make sure the pantry and fridge is supplied with healthy snack choices such as:

  • Whole grain cereals
  • Low-fat graham crackers
  • Granola bars
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole grain (100% whole wheat) bread
  • Almonds, cashews, mixed nuts, etc,
  • Peanut Butter
  • Trail mix (dried fruit + nuts)
  • Bagels, pita
  • Wasa crackers
  • Canned albacore tuna (in water)

Cold foods or produce such as:

  • Fresh fruit
  • 100% fruit juice or coconut water
  • Greek yogurt or low-fat fruit flavored yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Applesauce
  • Low-fat cream cheese
  • Baby carrots & low-fat dip or hummus
  • String-cheese
  • Low-fat pudding cups
  • Skim or 1% milk
  • Jam or preserves (for a PB&J)
  • Lean turkey or h

Always make sure to eat something every 3-4 hours.  If you are able to use the microwave or stove, you can expand and make popcorn, soups, healthier grilled cheese (100% whole wheat bread, low-fat cheese, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms – you get the idea… be creative), pita pizzas, etc.

If you know that you will be doing some activity or summer games/practices, make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the entire day.  Good hydration is a 24 hour, 7-day-a-week job!  Make sure you are not consuming too much fat at least 4 hours prior to games, practices, or other physical activity as higher fat consumption can slow digestion and cause discomfort, nausea, and subpar performance.

For example, you are 13 years old.  Tonight you have to play a baseball game.  Mom and Dad are at work, so it is up to you to make sure you are prepared for the game.  Here is an example of a daytime diet to help you out:

9am Breakfast: One large 100% whole wheat bagel with 2 tablespoons peanut butter + 1 glass (8-10oz) of skim milk +1 medium banana or other fruit + glass of water

11:00am Snack: 1 string cheese + handful pretzels or 2 Fig Newtons

1:00pm Lunch: 2 slices 100% whole wheat bread w/ 1 slice cheese, 2 oz lean turkey,  lettuce, tomato and mustard + one apple + 2 sheets of graham crackers  + water

**If you have to arrive at the field around 5pm, make sure lunch is well-balanced and you are fueling with a snack prior to the game**

4:00pm Snack: granola bar, Fig Newtons, pretzels, or Teddy Grahams + low-fat pudding cup or low-fat yogurt OR ½ PB and J OR handful of trail mix + applesauce cup AND water

During the game, make sure to provide yourself with water or a sports drink.  If you want to keep snacks with you, make sure they are easy to pack and low-fat such as graham crackers, pretzels, dried cereal (in a ziplock), peeled orange slices, granola bar, dried fruit, energy bar (nibble on bits at a time).

Whether you are celebrating post-game or not, make sure you replenish nutrients you used during the game (fluids, carbohydrate, and proteins).