I am a high energy person and do a pretty decent impersonation of the Energizer Bunny. Perhaps it is genetic (my mom shares the same trait)… Perhaps it goes back to my days of swimming when I sandwiched going to high school in between four and a half hours of intense training each day…Or perhaps it is just a product of my personal goal to get the most out of each and every day…
Even though I am a high energy person, my kids can run circles around me…I am amazed at both their tenacity and their zeal for life. It is not unusual to walk into our house and find Karyn and Megan running laps around our kitchen and living area giggling as the dog chases them, while Ashley Grace is practicing jumping up and touching the door frames and ceilings of the house. They do not just do this for a few minutes, they do this for an extended period of time. Their favorite family game is to play tag—Matt, with his natural agility and quickness usually still wins, but it is not going to be long before they can even catch the 1990 Nebraska State runner up in the 200 yard dash…
I love to watch my family go…whether it is running circles around the kitchen or circles around the track. As both a mom and a coach, it brings me great pleasure to watch them grow strong and train their bodies to excel physically. I know that the more they teach their bodies to be healthy and in shape, the better off they will be as they grow into adults.
So, what is ZIP and what role does it play?
Z = Zinc
I = Iron
P = Protein
As a young athlete, I had drilled in my head that I must fuel my body well so that it could fuel me! I still try to practice this philosophy today…Zinc, Iron, and Protein are all important components to fueling both myself and my little athletes. Zinc helps to power their brains, keep their immune systems strong, and to heal their bodies when they are injured. Iron helps to carry oxygen in their blood so that their bodies can function and move. Protein energizes their bodies, as well as helping to build up and repair their muscles so that they have the power to perform well.
Beef is the third most abundant food source of iron (behind fortified cereals and breads) and the number one source of easily absorbed iron. Given that 60% of young girls are not meeting the Recommended Dietary Allowance for iron each day (according to the Centers for Disease Control), beef makes a great dietary staple for my girls. In addition to playing an important role in fueling my girls’ bodies as they participate in athletics, iron also helps to fuel their brains. Iron deficient children have been shown to have decreased abilities in understanding math problems, poorer memories, and lack of focus or attention to tasks.
Beef is also the number one food source of zinc. Whether you are fueling a healthy immune system, or wanting to improve cognition, memory, and reasoning skills…zinc is your mineral!
Beef is also a high quality source of protein which provides all of the needed amino acids or building blocks that my girls need to grow strong and be healthy. In addition, protein in the adult diet plays a critical role in maintaining body (muscle) composition, bone health, and normal blood sugar levels.
The bottom line is that beef is a very nutrient dense food–calorie for calorie it fuels my family with the energy and the strength that we need to live each day to the fullest!
Check out these nutritional links for more information…