Tuesday, May 29, 2012

On Feeding My Two Swimmers.

Almost everyday I pack lunches for my two children.  We have found over the years that school lunches just don’t do it for them – in less than 30 minutes, they need to consume calories – quality calories – that will take them through the rest of the school day (until they eat before going to swim practice), and that means they need to take lunch to school each day.  And yes, I’m the mom who packs her kids’ lunches.  As I see it, they each have two fulltime jobs, as students and as athletes, and having some time to relax is an critical part of their day.  If I can let them have a little down time by packing lunches for them, then I’ll do it – and besides, it’s food!  It’s what I do.

A couple of years ago, one of my son’s friends sincerely asked me, “Ms. R., do you know how much he eats?  I mean really!  Everyday at lunch! Have you seen what he eats?”  And my answer was, “Yes, I do. I pack those lunches!”  He was unmoved.  “No, really, do you KNOW how much he eats?”  Indeed, I do know.  As mother of two teenage swimmers, I know.  We’ve laughed a lot about that conversation, and the truth in it.  Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, legumes, cheeses, yogurt, whole grains, and water fill lunch sacks and cover our table each day.

Lunch packing ingredients
Turkey & vegetable wrap, with some
red quinoa tossed in
for whole grain goodness

As the school year is coming to a close the need to provide healthy meals throughout the day doesn’t change. In fact, it intensifies, since we transition to 5 hours of practice each day.  What does change is that I’m not packing the brown bags each day and my kitchen becomes a non-stop cooking laboratory for my kids.  After early morning practice, they eat their second breakfast of the day and then begin experimenting.  I wonder what their cooking projects of the summer will be: cheese making, homemade pasta, the perfect baguette, or ultimate cinnamon rolls?  Last year it was cake decorating (fondant included) and anything that could be made with a noodle.  Whatever they choose, their friends and teammates will benefit, as the fruits of their labor will surely travel to afternoon practice each day.  And I can only hope that there will be something left for me each day when I return home from work.

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