When most of us talk about how to help our children succeed in Kung Fu, we often think of skills, techniques, endurance, strength, mental focus, etc. What we often forget is that the best foundation to help your child succeed in all those areas is the same—good nutrition.
The beginning of a new school year means we’re starting to plan and prepare for our kids to go back to school, so I want to share some ideas that work for my family, and how we keep those energy fires burning.
Avoid traditional junk food
We know that junk foods (candy bars, chips, soda pop, etc.) aren’t healthy choices. I know they’re quick, easily transportable and are something your children enjoy, but what we often forget is that these items (I hesitate to call them foods) are very counterproductive to our fitness goals. If your child comes to class fueled with junk food, it is difficult for them to focus and perform up to their potential. They will likely struggle with physical activities in class, and it will be very difficult for your child to demonstrate, or develop, self-discipline.
As a parent myself, I know it’s hard to always have a healthy snack on the go. But having your child come to class a bit hungry is a better choice than junk food; then have a proper healthy meal or snack after class. It will provide a better in-class experience for them, and for the instructors.
Quick, Easy, and Healthy Alternatives
So, what can you give your child on the go with your busy schedule? There are many alternatives that are cheap, travel well, and enjoyable for our kids. Think of things like homemade trail mix (nuts, raisins, etc.), carrot/celery sticks, apples, yogurt, etc. They travel well, are healthy and don’t make a huge mess. And, they provide the fuel necessary to keep your child focused and energized during class.
Being hydrated is probably the most important thing to emphasize when preparing for a class or any physical activity. Again, there’s no need for sugar filled sports drinks. In a 1-hour class, there is likely not enough electrolyte loss to require anything more than water. Hydration starts first thing in the morning and continues throughout the day. Getting your child in the habit of drinking water throughout the day will help tremendously with their performance in class. They will be more alert, have more focus and be able to accomplish much more than they would normally.
Questions? Feel free to speak to your friendly neighbourhood Sifu.