The Best Healthy Snacks for Kids & Young Athletes

If you want your kids to get out there and play their best, they need the proper fuel. Watch this video and get the lowdown on exactly what they need with Andrea Benton, a mom of two boys from Raisingboys.TV, and Nadia Vidas, a registered dietitian.

If you need snack ideas, this is the video for you. We all know that kids can be picky about their foods, especially when it comes to the essential ones. Hey, if we had to choose between lettuce and ice cream, we would choose ice cream, too!

But not all healthy snacks for kids need to taste bland. Make sure to mix things up. Try combining some of the less exciting options (stuff like carrots, crackers or nuts), with some options kids might get a little more excited about (pasta, cheese or fruits). And of course, a glass of milk with any of those snacks is the bee’s knees.

Another great thing about these foods is how easy they are to put together. We know that when it’s early in the morning before a game, you don’t have time to come up with an extravagant dish. No sweat! A balanced, healthy pre-game snack doesn’t need to be huge, and it doesn’t need to take hours to prepare. The snack recipes in this video are easy to prepare and easy on the wallet, while still being nutritious. It’s a win-win-win.

One important detail to keep in mind is how much time you’re giving your young athlete to digest before a game. For the best results, eating 1-2 hours prior to game time is the way to go. Some kids might even need a little more time or a little less––it varies from athlete to athlete. A good way to determine how much time your young athlete needs is to test it out at practice. Vary pregame snack times, then ask your young athlete when they felt better.

And now for some snack foods to avoid: fatty, sugary and caffeine-packed products. They’re definitely not good after-school snacks or really for any time of day. Steer clear! These foods tend to cause temporary spikes in blood sugar. Of course, what goes up must come down, and blood sugar is no exception; your young athlete’s levels will plummet once the game begins. So your young athlete might start off feeling great, but once you get to half time, they’re out of energy. Don’t let it happen!

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Part Two of Principal Interview with Eddie

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I moved on to the next round of questions after throwing away the container of Walt’s Crawlers. As I said, he had me thinking about Gelato.

Eddie: Olympics are trending right now. What events do you like to watch? Anything specific?

Principal Franconi: The sprinters are really exciting. It’s a lot like the Kentucky Derby without the Mint Julep and the wonderful hats.

The Kentucky Derby is held at Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, they have conducted thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. One of the long standing traditions is the decorative hats that are worn on race day.

Another tradition is the mint julep. It’s one of Kentucky’s signature drinks at Derby time. Muddling the ingredients brings the mint’s essential oils to the fore, and in Kentucky they tend to prefer spearmint and add it to 1.3 oz. Bourbon, 1.5 tsp sugar, and water to finish up the cocktail. 

Usain Bolt is legit. I love to watch him crush the records. He is amazing.

Basketball is fun to watch to.

I interrupted his thought. “Don’t you think that allowing the professional athletes into the Olympics was a mistake though?

It sort of lost the mystery of the competition in a way.

I brought him back to 1989, through the leadership of President Borislav Stanković, FIBA approved the rule that allowed NBA players to compete in international tournaments, including the Olympics. In the next Olympics in 1992, the “Dream Team” won the gold medal with an average winning margin of 44 points, and without calling a time out.

“It isn’t the same I don’t think. In 1980, the hockey coaches put together a group of men that were the best the country had to offer. They were college men that came together and won gold. Just me thinking…it isn’t the same.”

“Yeah you’re right…I guess I didn’t think about it from that perspective”, said Principal Franconi. “I guess its a lot like watching the NBA Playoffs.”

I said, “No offense to basketball fans, but its like watching paint dry for me.”

What about Phelps?

“Swimming, now were talking. Phelps is a beast. 20+ medals and counting. He is likely going to be the most decorated Olympic athlete in recent times. Maybe all time. He is a joy to watch. Wrestling, track and field, boxing…”

After I interviewed him, a couple of days went by and I ran into him. Principal Franconi followed up by adding to his list.

“Eddie after we talked that day I thought more about the Olympic games. I find myself turning on every TV in the house! I may not be in the room(s) for reasons of packing, cleaning, vacuuming, folding laundry, cooking dinner…

“Hold it right there”, I squawked. “You really expect our readers to believe you do all of that.”

“Of course, don’t you do that around your nest Eddie? I think he winked at me, but it may have just been my imagination. I firmly believe in sharing the household chores. I don’t expect the Mrs. to have to do it all.”

“Ah. Hmm”, I said. I squared my thoughts away. I live in a disposable home. I just build a new nest when this one gets dirty. I think Principal Franconi said that to get a kitchen pass from the wife to watch all the games, because I am sure she is going to read this.

Principal Franconi: Anyway, the more I thought about your original question I have found myself watching everything I can. As I said before I love sports in general. These summer games have been great to watch.”

“I got a question for you Eddie. What do think about the Zika scare and the golfers not wanting to go?”

“Zika”, I said. “I don’t see the big deal. She is a good looking lady who lives in Barecelona Spain and she’s probably married. They shouldn’t be hanging out with her anyway.

“Eddie”, principal Franconi said. “Zika is not a singer. That’s Shakira.”

Her official song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”, became the biggest-selling World Cup song of all time. With over a billion views, it is one of the most-watched music videos on YouTube.

“Well I thought that couldn’t be right so I figured it must be some sort of Brazilian appetizer. You know, a dip you eat with toast points. Like a hummus or artichoke dip. Do they serve that in Rio? I know besides the feijoada, a popular plate they have variations of grilled bovine fillet, rice and beans, farofa and French fries, commonly called Filé à Osvaldo Aranha. I heard seafood is very popular over there, as is roasted chicken. I strongly recommend staying away from birds though”, as I showed him my claw in a fist.

Principal Franconi roared with laughter. “Eddie, Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters. They can also bite at night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. Haven’t you been watching the news”

“Great Odin’s Raven”, I said. “That’s awful, a virus?” The prinicipal was laughing at me…how rude, but i let it pass.

“News? No, I don’t watch the news. I get my news from the Free Beer and Hot Wings Show. But no wonder some players don’t want to go. I would have to consider the ramifications it would have for my family if I was to get infected.”

“Yeah, but Eddie. Its the Olympics. For me, I would throw caution to the wind. I would want to get my chance to winning a medal for my country.”

“I suppose, besides the mosquitoes down there are as big as baby chicks and they taste like…never mind.”

“Last question, what is your vision for ABVM Athletics?”

Principal Franconi: I hope that our student athletes take away life long skills from our sports program. I hope they understand how to work together as a team. Discipline is an amazing gift to attain at this level. I define discipline as working hard at practice to perform at a high level…giving 100% all the time.

Kids can instill time management practices while playing sports. You have to be conscience of the fact that you have to fit moments in your day. Organizing your life around a busy schedule takes practice. As you grow older you will understand the benefits.

“Hold onto that thought. I need a moment for a movement.” I ruffled my feathers and headed to the bathroom.

After a few moments went by, “Everything okay Eddie?” asked Principal Franconi.

I flew back into position on the chair. I brought my wing across my brow. “Yeah, I’m good now. The worms weren’t agreeing with my stomach. Walking taco’s would have been way better to eat…I miss our cook Mrs. Julie. As you were saying about the athletes?”

Principal Franconi: I wanted to finish my thought by saying it’s important for kids today to realize that there is nothing bad about losing. Kids need to learn how to lose because life is not always about celebration and being the best.

“Its funny you say that’, I chirped in.

“How so?”

“I was just talking to a future 7th grader the other day about losing tournaments. This student echoed the same sentiment. He told me that if you don’t lose now and then, how do you know where your weaknesses are. You can always make adjustments and improvements to your game.”

“Precisely. I think a lot of the time kids just need to go out and have fun. Burn off some energy and enjoy yourself. No stress.”

 

That concluded my interview with Principal Franconi. As you can see we really had a lot of fun and got to know each other. I expect we will get along just fine this year. Look for more interviews as the year goes forward.

Eddie Eagle out.

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Phelps carries torch to Rio

Michael Phelps, who has never walked in an Olympic Opening Ceremony before, will carry the U.S. flag at the 2016 Rio Opening Ceremony on Friday, August 5. He was selected as the flag bearer by a vote of fellow Team USA members.

Phelps, set to compete in his fifth Olympic Games, is the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, 18 of which are gold.

Recently, Phelps was voted one of the six captains for the U.S. swim team, another honor he holds for the first time at the 2016 Games.

“I’m honored to be chosen, proud to represent the U.S., and humbled by the significance of carrying the flag and all it stands for,” Phelps said through a U.S. Olympic Committee statement. “For Sydney, I just wanted to make the team. For Athens, I wanted to win gold for my country. For Beijing, I wanted to do something nobody else had done. In London, I wanted to make history. And now, I want to walk in the Opening Ceremony, take it all in, represent America in the best possible way and make my family proud. This time around, it’s about so much more than medals.”

As the flag bearer, Phelps will sport a special illuminated USA blazer created by Polo Ralph Lauren.

Sabre fencer and two-time Olympic gold medalist Mariel Zagunis carried the flag at the 2012 Opening Ceremony in London.

Part one Principal Interview with Eddie Eagle

I, Eddie Eagle, had a chance to sit down with our new principal earlier this week to talk about food, athletics, and the impact sports has on our youth today. We had a great Q & A dialogue and I would like to share his and my thoughts. This is part one of a two part interview.

Below is the first segment.

When I arrived Principal Franconi was in the middle of arranging his office and the place was a disaster. He was settling in, so to speak. He had just finished up his lunch of sloppy joe’s, which when described at how he made it, well let’s just say it sounded like a meatball marinara sub recipe without the meatballs. I promptly moved on to recommend eating some of Miss Julie’s meals. We talked about the wonderful lunches that the school has to offer during the school year from our two great cooks. 

After discussing sloppy joe recipes and proper dieting we jumped into my first round of questions.

Eddie Eagle:  What sports do you favor or rather what do you enjoy watching ?

Principal Franconi: well Mr. Eagle, can I call you Eddie, it seems more informal.

Eddie Eagle: “No!”, I said as I flapped my wings at him. “At this point we don’t know each other that well.” I sat stone-beaked for a few seconds while he re-adjusted himself in his seat. After a few moments of silence I started chirping at him in good spirit and flashed my yellow beak in a big grin. “Of course sir…from one eagle to now, a new one. I am very excited to be your friend.” Principal Franconi is a West Catholic Falcon, I figured it made him somewhat aviary like, being a friend of Freddie Falcon and all. Although, we all know that the Eagle is much higher in the bird pyramid.

Eddie Eagle: so back to my question…favorite sport? I said grinning again.

Principal Franconi: Lions on Sunday doesn’t get any better for me. Tigers baseball is fun to watch right now too.

 

Eddie Eagle: That sort of led me to my next question. Favorite sports teams in college or professional?

Principal Franconi: Favorite sports teams. He paused for a few minutes on this one sports fans. I love the Detroit Lions for a pro team.

It was at this point I choked on a worm that I was snacking on…I had scrounged around for some Chocolate upon my arrival that Mrs. Kleeves usually has hidden in her desk, but she was not due in yet. Nor had her supplier been in to add to the snack drawer.

I quickly pointed out the Lions have exactly one playoff appearance to their name in the 21st century. They’re even on a seven-game playoff losing streak: Their last playoff win came on January 5, 1992, one day before Ndamukong Suh celebrated his fifth birthday.

That’s a brutal run.  Detroit fans been forced to suffer through the worst stretch of professional football ever.

Principal Franconi: “wow that is rough. But we are Michiganders right? U of M is my favorite college team.

He quickly changed gears not wanting to dwell on the bad choice of the Lions

“Ah, a Harbaugh fan.” I said. “Best thing to come out of California was Joe Montana.” Which I promptly pointed out that Joe was a Notre Dame grad and we all know that Irish Football is the only team to cheer on. At this point I segued into the next question getting him off the hot seat.

 

Eddie Eagle: What sports did you play growing up?

Principal Franconi: “Well a few I’d say. I played football in high school and college. I ran a little track and wrestled a little too. It kept this Italian boy out of trouble, so I did as much as I could. I just love sports.”

Eddie Eagle: If you could have dinner with any four athletes who would it be and why?

Principal Franconi: “oh boy…what a great question. Going back to my Detroit Lions fav team statement, I would love to hang out with Barry Sanders. No further explanation for that pick. Greatest running back in Lions history…enough said.

“Chris Spielman would be my second choice.”

I recognized the name, but thought he played for the Chicago Bears.

“He was a graduate from Washington High School in Massillon, Ohio, where he was awarded the Dial Award for the national high-school scholar-athlete of the year in 1983. He was the first high school athlete to have his picture on a box of Wheaties. He also went to Ohio State University with a degree in recreation education. He was a two-time All-American, intercepted 11 passes, and won the Lombardi Award as the best college football lineman or linebacker. Spielman was drafted 29th in the 1988 NFL Draft, by the Detroit Lions.”

He leaned back in his chair and continued on.

“The trait I admired most of Chris’ was his work hard and play hard attitude. ”

“Michael Jordan would be a great person to have dinner with too. Except he would likely stink up the room with his cigars. Jordan is, in my opinion, the greatest basketball player ever.”

“Finally, I would like to round out the dinner table with ‘the captain’ of the Detroit Red Wings.”

For those that aren’t hockey followers I must interject here. There have been many players that wore the “C” on the winged wheel jersey, but when someone says Steve Yzerman  voted to be the most popular athlete in Detroit sports history, locals often simply refer to Yzerman as “The Captain. Steve is widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time. Yzerman spent his entire NHL playing career with the Detroit Red Wings and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Prior to the 1986–87 season at the age of 21, Yzerman was named captain of the Red Wings and continuously served for the next two decades (dressing as captain for over 1,300 games), retiring as the longest-serving captain of any team in North American major league sports history. Yzerman led the Wings to five first-place regular season finishes and 3 Stanley Cup championships (1997, 1998 and 2002).

“The tenacity and commitment of Steve Yzerman is astonishing. I would be so lucky to hear from these four gentlemen to talk about life lessons for our student athletes and just to listen to their stories.”

He looked at me smiling as I ate another delicious worm.

“Of course I wouldn’t subject them to my sloppy joe dinner. I’d have to treat them to a nice home-cooked italian meal. A little pasta and toss it with fresh ricotta cheese, a little grated pecorino and salt & pepper. Follow that up with Grilled Chicken with lemony Sicilian Salmoriglio Sauce. Finally a little Chocolate Gelato. Just saying.”

It was at this point the worms weren’t doing it for me anymore. I mean seriously…he had me at Chocolate Gelato. 

That wraps up part 1 of my interview with the new principal Mr. Franconi. I am putting together the rest of the interview which will be ready next week. Please check back.

Eddie Eagle flying away for now.

 

 

 

Gold medal swimmer thanks nuns for her success

While Super Bowl MVPs are known for going to Disney World to celebrate, swimmer Katie Ledecky took a road less traveled after winning a gold medal at the London Olympic Games in the summer of 2012.

She visited the White House and threw out the first pitch at a Washington Nationals baseball game, but before all that, she and her mom visited the Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters at their convent in Bethesda, Maryland, to thank the women religious who taught her at Little Flower School.

They brought brownies baked by Ledecky’s mom, Mary Gen, and the sisters got to share in their former student’s Olympic glory, peppering her with questions and taking turns trying on her gold medal.

“We had a good time celebrating her accomplishments,” said Sister Rosemaron Rynn, Little Flower’s longtime principal, in an interview with Crux.

When Ledecky – then 15 years old and the youngest member of Team USA – touched the wall in first place in the women’s 800-meters freestyle race, it was one of the biggest surprises of the London Olympics.

Now Ledecky – who turned 19 on St. Patrick’s Day this year – is preparing to swim for Team USA in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro which begin on Aug. 5. She is expected to win gold medals in the women’s 400- and 800-meter freestyle races, in which she currently holds the world records, and she is also favored to win the 200-meter freestyle and the 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay race and may become only the third American woman swimmer to win four gold medals at an Olympics.

In a recent email interview with reporter Kelly Seegers of the Catholic Standardnewspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington, Ledecky said, “My Catholic faith is very important to me. It always has been, and it always will be. It is part of who I am… It helps me put things in perspective.”

Ledecky, who graduated from Little Flower School in 2011 and Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, also in Bethesda, four years later, said, “My Catholic schools challenged me, they broadened my perspective… The importance of balance in one’s life is a lesson I have learned, and one that I hope will help me in college and beyond.”

The Interview

Check out the interview between Eddie Eagle and the new Principal Domenic Franconi. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I had reliving it and typing it up.