Friday, April 13, 2012

Healthy Habits: Energy for Moms

You know that moms need lots of energy to stay active and keep up with kids! I had a chance to interview soccer great Mia Hamm to find out how she stays energized as she juggles being a mother, staying fit, and being involved in the Mia Hamm Foundation, which contributes to marrow and cord blood transplants as well as supports young girls in sports.

You are most well-known for being on the US Olympic soccer team in 2004. What projects have you been involved with since then?
Right now I’m teamed up with the Grains Food Foundation because it’s important to me to help remind everyone about the important role bread and grains play in a healthy diet. As an athlete, and now as a busy mom of three, I know firsthand how important carbohydrates are for providing energy!

Making time for health and fitness can be a challenge for moms - especially with young kids. What have you found works for you?
It definitely is tough to find the time, but I know setting aside that “me time” ultimately makes me a better mom and wife. Usually I’ll go for a jog outside – if need be I can bring the stroller that way too, and we all get outside for some fresh air. I’ve also recently found yoga to be helpful in terms of keeping me flexible and strong.

How do you make sure to have energy to keep up with all of the things that need to get done in a day?
Build a perfect plate. Following the dietary guidelines ensures you’ll get the right nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. By choosing a variety of foods and filling about a quarter of your plate with grains at each meal, along with fruits and veggies, proteins and healthy fats, you’re setting yourself up for success to stay alert and active throughout the day.

What are some tips you can share for making sure moms - and the whole family - have a balanced diet?
We like to get the kids involved with their meals – we’ll sit down and plan out our meals for the week, and ask them what they’d like to eat so they have a say in making healthy choices, too. Also, I think it’s important to be a role model. Whether we realize it or not, our children’s eating habits develop based on behaviors they see at home.

Mia is widely recognized as the world's best all-around women's soccer player. In Atlanta at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games she proved it by leading her team to Team Gold in front of 80,000 screaming fans in Athens, Georgia. Never in history had so many spectators come out to watch a women's sporting event. The Games highlighted female athletes like no other time in modern history and Mia emerged as one of the Game's true examples for people of all ages who have a dream and go for it. The 1999 Women's World Cup, where the USA took home the championship in front of 40 million viewers in this country alone, sold over 650,000 tickets, including sellouts at Giants Stadium and the Rose Bowl.

Mia played collegiately at UNC and led her team to four consecutive NCAA championships. Her awards and accomplishments only tell part of the story of this remarkable athlete; she gives much of her precious free time to charitable causes and strives, in anything she does, to promote women's athletics, the sport of soccer, and a feeling of confidence and sense of purpose in young people.

Having seen the enormous support her and her teammates received at the '96 and '00 Games, Mia became a founding member of the Women's United Soccer Association and led the Washington Freedom to the Founder's Cup. Poised, articulate and honest, Mia is a pioneer in her sport and a role model for athletes and fans alike who believe in equal opportunity, Title IX legislation, and the love of the game.

Married to baseball legend Nomar Garciaparra, Mia & Nomar are parents to twin daughters Ava and Grace (5 yrs old) and son Garrett (2 months).

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