Helping your child eat healthy while traveling can be a challenge. Fueling Olympians and future Olympians on the go is difficult because of unfamiliar foods, lack of knowledge about the local food scene, and other factors.
Dr. Douglas N. Graham, an Olympic health trainer and coach who has worked with the likes of tennis ace Martina Navratilova, NBA star Ronnie Grandison, and professional bowler Bruce Hamilton, counsels Olympians and Olympic hopefuls on the techniques, practices, and benefits of healthy living and eating. Graham, who has written The 80/10/10 Diet, and lives a raw vegan lifestyle, helps his clients maintain a routine while on the road.
"I’m not obsessed about food but I cover my bases," said Graham, who has trained a number of Olympians, including Jamaican hurdler Isa Phillips.
Graham cites dehydration and the body’s difficulty with dealing with microbes in unfamiliar locales as culprits that sometimes lead athletes and travelers to tummy trouble, which leads to poor athletic performance.
"It’s not fun to go on vacation and spend it in the bathroom," said Graham.
We couldn’t agree more. Graham shares, in his own words, his tips for moms to keep their all-stars well-fed and energized this summer. See Graham’s tips for Fueling Future Olympians.
1. Snack Plan of Attack
Whether you are headed to the beach, the pools, or running errands, when driving with children in the car, always have snacks available. Children often get hungry with greater frequency than adults do. A contented child makes it far easier for the driver to maintain sanity and drive safely, while also reducing the number of unscheduled stops.
2. Plan Ahead
Apples, grapes, cucumbers, celery, bananas, or other health foods make the best choices, or a homemade trail mix of dried fruit and nuts is almost always a winner.
3. Keep It Cool
The sun, air conditioning, heat, and altitude make all forms of travel dehydrating. For this reason, salty, dry, starchy snacks really are a poor choice of travel foods, even if they are convenient. Be optimistic about access to refreshments on the road, but pack a cooler and bring extra water and/or other drinks anyway. Little children sometimes have to make frequent and unexpected potty breaks. Allow for such stops when planning the timing of your trip.
4. Set a Good Example
Children tend to eat whatever and whenever they see their parents eating. Set the healthy example by choosing adult foods wisely. Respect the fact that children feel most secure when they stick to their usual routines. Travel can be worrisome for a child, and can upset their tummies. Even going through time zones can present unexpected challenges. Cars can be like a pressure cooker, so adults must keep them cool. Pay extra attention to making your summer travel safe, enjoyable, educational, and child-friendly. Make sure that there is plenty for the child to do while in the car and encourage lots of family interaction.
5. Get Moving
Travel tends to be extremely sedentary. Kids need to move, often, and it is just as important that parents are active. Bring a ball, a Frisbee, and appropriate clothing so that you are sure to be active while on the road. Be willing to stop at roadside stands to taste locally grown fruits, nuts, corn, or other special treats.
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