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Patty James: Setting Right Example For Kids Is Her Most Important Nutrition Tip

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October is Sports Nutrition Month at MomsTEAM. We invited some old friends and some new ones to share their wisdom about nutrition and offer always on-the-go sports parents fresh ideas and choices for healthy, easy-to-make breakfasts, lunches, dinners and between-meal snacks for your active children.

Today we hear from one of MomsTEAM's regular contributors, author, chef, and founder of Direction Five Health, Patty James:

Patty James with her two dogs

MomsTEAM: What is the best snack to pack in a sports-active kid's school backpack or gym bag?

James: A snack combining healthy fats, protein and complex carbohydrates makes the perfect snack for athletes. Here are some suggestions:

  • Hummus with celery, carrots, red pepper and jicama slices
  • Nut butter (almond, peanut, cashew) with apple slices or celery sticks-or both!
  • Homemade granola bar (see box)
 

Sunshine Bars

Makes about 3 dozen 1 1/2 inch bars. Make a double batch and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator:

Ingredients

1 cup orange juice
1 cup dried apricots
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup walnut oil
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup raisins
2/3 cup almond meal (finely ground almonds)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease a 9 x 9 inch baking dish with walnut oil.
  • Heat the orange  juice to a boil in a small saucepan 
  • Add dried apricots.
  • Bring the liquid to a boil again and turn off the heat.
  • Cover pan and let the apricots soak in the juice for 10 minutes.
  • Drain and cut the apricots into small pieces with 
  • kitchen scissors or a sharp knife.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl cream together the honey and walnut oil.
  • Add apricots and raisins and stir together.
  • In a large mixing bowl stir together the oats, flour, wheat germ, cinnamon, and sea salt.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Press dough into the baking dish. Bake for about 25 minutes. 
  • Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Note: You may substitute agave for the honey if you are vegan, and use non-gluten flour in place of the whole-wheat flour and non-gluten oat bran in place of the wheat germ.

 

MomsTEAM: What is a quick-and-easy dinner to make for a family meal after an afternoon practice or game?

James: Health is about preparing. A quick-and-easy dinner after a busy day is truly that only if you have prepared.  Have veggies always washed/dried/cut or sliced in the refrigerator. If you are a vegetarian, have brown rice and other grains as well as a selection of beans available, as your protein source. Other protein sources are eggs, poultry, cold-water fish such as salmon and trout. If you are well stocked, dinner is a breeze.

Here are some menu ideas:

  • Baked or sautéed chicken or fish, while you re-heat brown rice and steam veggies. 25 minutes until dinner.
  • Brown rice and beans with salsa, avocado slices and sautéed veggies. 25 minutes if the veggies are prepped and the rice is cooked and ready.
  • Whole-grain pasta with olive oil and garlic-throw some veggies in with the pasta to save time and dishes. Add white beans or shrimp or chicken if you like. 20 minutes.
  • Try a big green salad with veggies of every color with hardboiled eggs and/or garbanzo beans. If the lettuce and veggies are prepped and eggs are hardboiled, this dinner will take 10 minutes!

MomsTEAM: What is the most important thing about nutrition that every sports parent should know? Any tips?

Vegetables

James: The most important nutrition tip is you setting a good example for your kids. If you're telling your kids to eat their veggies, get their exercise, turn off the television and go to bed early while you shun broccoli, love the couch and never miss a rerun of Seinfeld, your kids probably won't listen. Get them excited about health and fitness by being a role model. Let your kids see you go for a walk or run, head to the gym or play. basketball. Turn off the television and choose activity instead. When your children see you making healthy choices-- eating that broccoli--they will too. If you've spent your life making poor health choices and your kids have watched, it may take some time and convincing to show them the way, but the extra effort is worth it--keep at it!

An adolescent's nutritional demands are second only to infancy in terms of the body's demands for adequate nutrients to fuel growth. Too little food and/or nutrient deficiency can lead to depletion of energy stores, alteration of brain structure, and cardiac dysfunction. Too much food of little nutritional value can lead to obesity and Type II-diabetes, among other disease states.y basketball. Turn off the television and choose activity instead. When your children see you making healthy choices-- eating that broccoli--they will too. If you've spent your life making poor health choices and your kids have watched, it may take some time and convincing to show them the way, but the extra effort is worth it--keep at it!

As vegetables are truly the key to health, always have veggies prepped and ready to consume in your fridge.  It's important to consume mostly non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, kale and spinach, etc. They are ready to eat as is, dip into hummus or steam to add to your next meal. Every color veggie has different phytonutrients, so be sure to eat from the rainbow.

Vegetables are also high in dietary fiber, something most kids and adults do not consume nearly enough.  An adolescent's dietary fiber intake is well below the age-adjusted target goal. Significant sources of dietary fiber for adolescents include ready-to-eat cereals, breads, potatoes, popcorn, tomatoes, and corn with the distinct lack of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. Adolescents who skip breakfast are at high risk for having an inadequate intake of dietary fiber, as are other age groups; so make sure your child does not skip this important meal.


Direction Five group shotPatty James, M.S., C.N.C., is a nutritionist and Certified Natural Chef with a Master's Degree in Holistic Nutrition, and the founder and director of the Patty James Cooking School and Nutrition Center, the first certified organic cooking school and nutrition center in the country. She is a frequent guest speaker in public and private schools and has participated in TV and radio interviews across America promoting health. She is also the co-author of the popular healthy eating book, "More Vegetables, Please."
In the summer of 2009 and a desire to focus on the health needs of America's youth, Patty was inspired to move in a new direction, founding  DirectionFive Health, a national culinary and nutrition non-profit program for kids based in Northern California.  In 2010, she travelled to 41 states across America, going to schools, Boys and Girls Clubs and community centers interviewing kids from all walks of life about their health. Each child was presented with 25 unique questions regarding their health. University researchers compiled the results and the findings led Patty and her team to develop five-targeted health programs designed to educate kids and provide them with a path to better overall health. Patty firmly believes that if children are included as part of the process, they can become part of the solution.
You can learn more about Patty and D5 by visiting her website, liking her on Facebook or visiting the DirectionFive Health's Facebook page