HELP YOUR CHILDREN GROW AND LEARN

A healthy, nutritious diet helps children grow and learn. It also helps prevent weight-related diseases, such as diabetes and obesity. Children need different amounts of specific nutrients at different ages. They need to eat three meals daily and have healthy snacks in between. The more active your child is, the more calories he or she needs. Here are some ways to encourage your child to follow a nutritious diet:

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SODIUM AND YOUR HEALTH

Sodium is an essential mineral for life. It is regulated in the body by the kidneys. It helps control the body’s fluid balance, affects muscle function and helps send nerve impulses. An Australian study showed the brain responds to sodium in the same way it responds to substances such as cocaine and heroin, which may explain why we tend to overindulge in high-sodium foods.

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HEALTHY EATING TIPS

A balanced healthy diet should contain a variety of nutritious foods and sufficient vitamins and minerals. Such a diet can help you maintain a healthy body weight and reduce your risk of many diet-related problems, such type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. It’s recommended men have around 2,500 calories a day and women 2,000 calories a day. Studies indicate eating a typical Western diet filled with packaged meals, takeout foods, processed meats and sugary snacks may lead to stress, high rates of depression....

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•  Turkey wrap with veggies (you can add carbs as required)

•  Oatmeal with whey protein mixed in (good for those with a sensitive stomach)

•  6 ounces of grilled chicken with yam and asparagus

•  Two egg whites, two whole eggs, onions, peppers, low-fat cheese and grapefruit or oatmeal


Oats are full of fiber, which means they slowly release carbs into your bloodstream. They also contain B vitamins, which help convert carbs into energy. Eat one cup of oatmeal at least 30 minutes before you start exercising.


Bananas are great, too, because they are loaded with digestible carbs and packed with potassium, which helps muscle function. Starting your day eating a banana with half a cup of Greek yogurt and then hitting the gym after 30 minutes takes care of your body’s need for protein and carbs.


Smoothies make a wholesome snack. Use a favorite sliced fruit, a cup of Greek yogurt and some granola for a thicker consistency.

Your body builds muscles and recovers all through the day, not just at the gym. So eating well-timed food and snacks can give the body fuel it needs to burn fat, build muscle and recover as best it can. If your workout will last longer than an hour and you prefer eating before a workout, it is best to grab a snack about 45 to 60 minutes in advance and keep it small.


Usually, your pre-workout meal should consist of protein, dietary fat and carbohydrates. For protein, a moderate amount of meat or dairy can work because they contain branched chain amino acids (BCAA), which help decrease protein breakdown during and after your workout and increase the rate of protein synthesis. Fat takes the longest time to digest, so the pre-workout meal should be low in fat. Stay away from oils and fatty meats. Low glycemic carbohydrates can fill up the glycogen stores to help you power through your workout and create an anabolic effect.


Some people can eat a full meal an hour before a workout, while others prefer to eat three to four hours before. You need to experiment with the timings to suit your needs. For a 180-pound man, a meal of around 500 calories eaten two to three hours before a workout should suffice.


For muscle building, a pre-workout protein shake combined with a larger pre-workout meal can help. For overall performance for an intense athletic event, add more carbs. Here are some options:

WHAT TO EAT BEFORE A WORKOUT

HARLEENA SINGH

Harleena Singh is a professional freelance writer with a background in teaching and education. She has a keen interest in food and health related issues and can be approached through her website freelancewriter.co. Checkout her blog and network with her on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

more articles by harleena singh

Chickpeas with a dash of lemon juice will give you enough protein, carbs and fiber – just quarter cup is sufficient. Other healthy options include dried fruit, egg whites and whole grain toast.


If you can’t find time for a meal or snack, a sports drink with 5 grams of BCAA can help boost energy levels and protect against muscle breakdown.


Be sure to drink plenty of water – at least 16 or more ounces – before, during and after your workout.