We all know that swimming is a demanding physical sport that requires good nutrition to fuel the long workouts and long day competitions. Parents often ask how they can improve their children’s nutrition and here is an easy, overlooked way. Eat more family meals. In fact, research shows that there is 24% increase in healthy food consumption when families eat more than three meals together each week.
The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Foundation has established September as Family Meals Month to encourage families to eat just one more family meal…breakfast, lunch, or diner…at home each week. This one small change can reap big rewards.
The FMI Foundation notes that half of all dinners are eaten alone, eaten away from home, or skipped altogether. Probably sounds familiar to parents whose kids are in after-school swim practice. The biggest obstacles to eating together as a family are differing schedules, distractions (put that phone or tablet down!), and lack of time.
Eating dinner together doesn’t have to be a big production. You don’t have to cook from scratch every night. Even if you don’t consider yourself a good cook, you can assemble meals. So, here are some easy ways to get dinner on the table with four basic foods you probably have in your pantry, freezer, or fridge right now.
Pita or flat breads
Chris Rosenbloom is a registered dietitian, certified specialist in sports nutrition, and professor emerita of nutrition at Georgia State University. She welcomes questions from swimmers, parents and coaches. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow her on Twitter @chrisrosenbloom.