Planning a nutritional meal for a family can be challenging. Triathletes and toddlers both tend to get grumpy quickly when hungry and often need snacks and meals that are easy and fast to prepare. Our overall health is dependent on what we eat and it’s vitally important that these meals and snacks are nutritionally dense. When we eat healthy, it translates to positives in all areas of our life, no matter what age. It can be a challenge to find something healthy that’s as fast as going through the fast food line, but it can be successfully and easily done.
1) Start your child out at a young age eating what you eat! Friends and family are amazed that our child’s favorite foods are peas and broccoli, but we have simply given her those foods from the start. She has learned to love what she is accustomed to, which is healthy food. We all eat as a family at the table and I don’t have to spend the extra time making her something different from what we are eating.
2) Cook up a bulk of healthy, lean meat or fish when extra time during the week is available. Put the leftovers in single serving zip lock bags and freeze to eat for later in the week. This way, healthy protein is ready to eat in just minutes. Simply thaw the meat and it’s ready to go.
3) Be conscious of hydration throughout the day. We always bring a water bottle with us when heading to the park or out for daily activities. My daughter loves milk, so we buy whole milk and fill the cup with ice so that it stays cold for several hours and naturally waters down to 2%!
4) Keep nutritious snacks ready for on the go training and activities. During training, energy bars/gels/drinks are vital for key performance. Those don’t work well for toddlers, but we have her own “gel”. We like to get the organic food pouches (or you can make your own). This way she is still getting her fruit and veggies, but it’s a healthy snack we can take with us anywhere and it is mess free.
5) During hard training; eat frequent, healthy snacks. After I finish a long training session, my appetite remains high for several hours afterwards. I make sure to have a sports recovery drink after the session and within a couple hours have a high quality meal. If I don’t make nutrition a priority I find myself overly hungry and grabbing whatever I can get my hands on…which is usually not a very healthy option.
6) Healthy treats can be a yummy option. Of course ice cream and cake are great for special occasions, but every day is not the best choice. We have found some every day treats that our child loves. For example, we freeze greek yogurt or grapes and they taste great after a hot day at the park or a hard training session. I will sign off with a healthy “ice cream” recipe:
Using a blender combine the following:
1) Frozen banana
2) 1 cup of ice
3) 1 cup of milk (also can use almond or coconut milk)
4) 1 tbs of coconut powder
5) 1-2 tbs natural peanut or almond butter (optional)
6) 1 Stavia packet as a natural sweetener
Serve immediately (Serves 1-2)