Team sports participation helps young people gain fundamental skills and values useful for the rest of their lives. Now, thanks to a new “Eat Smart, Play Safe” campaign formed by DSM Nutritional Products and Pop Warner Little Scholars, families participating in youth sports programs have the opportunity and available resources to be educated in proper nutrition and sports safety practices to ultimately succeed both on and off the field.
“Eat Smart, Play Safe” is designed to educate families about the foods, beverages, vitamins and nutrients they need to properly stay fueled on the field and nourished when hitting the books. The initiative encourages parents to nourish their kids’ bodies and brains by supporting diets rich in important nutrients and vitamins, such as omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, and vitamin D, which together support children’s brain, eye, heart and bone development. In addition to providing nutritional recommendations and creative kid-friendly recipes, the campaign also delivers tips on sports safety and healthy lifestyles from wearing proper equipment to staying hydrated.
Proper nutrition is critical for developing minds and bodies as well as for maintaining optimal health in active young people, according to Julian Bailes, M.D., chairman of the department of neurosurgery and co-director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute, medical director for Pop Warner Football and a recognized leader on the impact of brain injury on brain function. “Brain-healthy nutrition is very crucial, and a diet rich in DHA is important in ensuring proper brain development in children and young adults. It can be an important factor in sports safety as well because DHA has several neuroprotective effects in the brain.”
“It is also important to strengthen your child’s developing bones when they are growing and active. Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common among American children and adolescents, so ensure your kids and teens have an adequate amount in their diet from foods like eggs and mushrooms or through a supplement,” Dr. Bailes said.
To learn more about the “Eat Smart, Play Safe” initiative and to find some great recipe ideas for your little athletes, visit the Pop Warner website.
For easy, on-the-go snack ideas rich in DHA and vitamin D, try the new Super Squeezies Omega-3 DHA Tubes or Horizon Organic Low-Fat Vanilla or Chocolate Milk Box plus DHA Omega-3.