In the foothills of New Hampshire, by the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, past the poodle-pink 50s style diner in Tilton, on the side of a winding leaf scattered hilly country road, stands the Gunstock Inn. What a great place for runners to sojourn.
This is running, swimming, and biking country at its best. Triathlons, road races, and kids' cross-country abound.
- Carol Goodrow
XC RUNS MORE SMOOTHLY WITH HEALTHY EATING
What do middle school XC kids do after a great season? Stay in bed until noon? No way. They're up and out to the Gunstock Inn to talk about vitamins, fats, carbs, and protein. Want your group to do the same? Here are some ideas for a kids' healthy eating get-together.
Google the Web. You can find clear, colorful, essential info on portion size, daily nutrition requirements, and food groups, with many materials to download. And if you are a food service person or educator, you can order free posters and other materials on mypyramid.gov.
The Web also offers crossword puzzle and word search makers. You can make your own materials appropriate for your group. Look for materials on visualizing portion sizes. Many sources give examples that equate portion sizes of particular foods with easy to recall images.
PASTA PORTION SIZES
AOL Health portion size is equal to a tennis ball. (This makes it seem like your local pasta eatery is giving you enough food for 5.)
PORTION PLATE What a novel idea. You can purchase a kid- or adult-sized portion plate that does all the visualizing for you!
MUFFIN TIN Another way to image 1/2 cup of pasta.
Whichever method you use, remember that using portion size is crucial to good eating. And don't forget that every BODY is different and portions should be adjusted to age, gender, amount of exercise, and individual need.
Kids love crossword puzzles. Make sure to have a word bank full of healthy foods. Stay positive. It's often better just to give lists of benefits, instead of listing "DON'Ts". Make the crossword activity more fun? Time them! XC kids are tough. They're used to running against the clock.
Be prepared for little brothers and sisters. Have coloring sheets available, but not just any coloring sheets. Choose ones with healthy foods that can be stapled together to make a healthy eating book.
Have kids make lists of their favorite healthy foods in various categories. Then take a break with a tough word search using many of the healthiest foods. If your word search is really tough, like ours was, stop the clock and do the word search as a group; helping each other. Can't stop the clock? Then just find out how long it takes everyone to work together to find the hidden words.
Make sure to present information on what athletes should eat before and after competition. Good information can be found by searching the Web site about.com.
Take-it-and-make-it should be on hand for kids to do more at home. For the younger kids, send home little zig-zag books.
Serve something nutritious and yummy. Robin Allen served homemade fruit smoothies to everyone's delight.
Our healthy-eating get-together was part of Carol Goodrow's book signing courtesy of triathlete-runner-mom Robin Allen, fitness director at the Gunstock Inn. Great idea to keep those XC kids in shape by adding the healthy eating piece to their already physical activity filled lifestyles.
The Cozy Gunstock Inn
Beautiful country in, Guilford, NH with full fitness facilities, including a huge swimming pool, free weights, fluid bike trainers, cardio equipment and MORE.
mypyramid.gov Source for kid-friendly information on newest nutritional guidelines. Games, online information, materials to download, free materials for different groups, and an online store.
Free crossword puzzle maker Beginning levels.
Free word search maker Ours came out as a super challenge, all diagonals - ouch! I couldn't have solved one without the help of the kids.
Food coloring pages Lots of big bold shapes.
What to eat before you exericse Sports nutrition information from about.com.
Zig-Zag books Happy Feet lunches, fruit, fun run. More to be added soon. Hours of make-it-yourself fun.
Carol's "healthily-ever-after" books
Written to encourage children to get joy from healthy eating and exercise.
Thanks to Robin Allen, a runner I met while out on a wintry run in my hometown last winter. You meet the best people while running!
Bottom photos courtesy of Carol Anderson