A letter from Sarah Hasselbeck, mom of three active school-aged children, all-American collegiate athlete and wife of NFL quarterback, pro-bowler and Pop Warner alum Matt Hasselbeck.
Dear Pop Warner Community,
I'm thrilled to be teaming up with Pop Warner Little Scholars and DSM Nutritional Products to tell you about a new educational program called "Eat Smart, Play Safe" that's rolling out across the country.
"Eat Smart, Play Safe" is geared toward us — busy parents of active kids. We lead hectic lives and it can be hard to properly fuel our kids with healthy, nutritious foods to keep them going through school, practice, games and other activities.
This program shares tips on how to prepare easy and convenient meals that pack a nutritional punch and please even picky eaters. It also leverages Pop Warner's dedication to sports safety and shares information on how to keep kids happy and safe when playing youth sports.
As some of you may know, my family has been involved with Pop Warner since 1986 when my husband, NFL quarterback and pro-bowler Matt Hasselbeck, started playing youth football in his hometown of Norfolk, Mass. He was even a member of a team that won the Pop Warner National Championship that year. Football, training, practices and games run in our blood!
I'm an athlete myself — I'm in my college and high school halls of fame for field hockey, and my kids, who are ages 8, 10 and 11, play football, basketball and lacrosse. Needless to say, my family loves sports and staying active! That's why I'm excited to be a part of the "Eat Smart, Play Safe" program and share a part of my experience with all of you.
I've learned the importance of a well-balanced diet that includes vitamins and nutrients, like the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, vitamin D, calcium and iron. To help you make sure your kids are eating nutritious meals, I'm sharing some of our favorite family recipes on Pop Warner's website www.popwarner.com in the "Safety" tab. Check it out and give the recipes a try!
As the Pop Warner season kicks off and your family prepares for going back to school, I have a few tips to share:
You are the nutrition gatekeeper for your family — stock your fridge and cabinets with only good, healthy choices.
Fruits and veggies are quick-and-easy snacks throughout the day and they're great for the car.
Set rules and stick with them. It's important for you to be a good role model for your kids and to set boundaries when it comes to the foods they eat, the amount of exercise and playtime they get and the family schedule and bedtime routine.
Ask your doctor about a children's multivitamin, since most kids aren't perfect eaters.
Keep the family hydrated, especially when the kids are playing sports.
Get enough sleep every night so you can perform your best every day.
I encourage your families to "eat smart" by choosing healthy foods and beverages and to "play safe" by stretching, wearing proper equipment and following the rules. We can all inspire one another to live better, healthier lives.