Protein Bars + Youth Athletes

granola bar - nutritionProtein bars are a staple at youth sports games and tournaments. Individually packaged and promising quick energy, they’re often chocked full of ingredients that may or may not provide the best nutrition. 

Dragonwing Brand Ambassador Abby G. takes a look at these game-day go-to snacks and shares her discoveries. 

Pre-Game/Workout

Athletes need a snack that is 75% carbs and 25% protein to provide energy, and repair and build muscle during activity.  

Check the ingredient list and nutrition label of your favorite snack bar to know if it has the right balance of protein, fats, and sugar. Yes, sugar; it has a bad reputation if it is refined sugar, but not when it comes from natural sources and whole foods such as low-fat milk and dried fruit. The fiber in the fruit causes the sugar to metabolize slower, leaving your athlete feeling fuller and with more energy.  Sugar from natural sources does not cause inflammation, an added, important benefit.

Erin Palinski-Wade, a registered dietitian, recommends the “rule of 5.” Having at least 5 grams of protein, fiber, and unsaturated fat results in a filling pre-game snack choice.

Post-Game/Workout

Post-workout, these nutrients repair muscles, replenish the body’s glycogen stores, and prevent muscle soreness. Athletes need to stay hydrated and consume similar healthy food with protein and carbs. Protein bars are a good fit since appetites may be temporarily dulled from a strenuous workout, or other options may be too heavy.

Look for choices composed of whole foods. Micro-nutrients and essential fiber provide the body with the nutrients needed to repair muscles and replenish the body’s glycogen stores. It also helps prevent muscle soreness. 

Understand What You’re Buying

Often the ingredients lists for bars are long and unrecognizable. After being refined and processed, these ingredients lose many of the nutrients essential to muscle repair. 

Know the difference between granola bars and protein bars. While granola, purchased or homemade, can be a healthy snack, it may not provide what your young athlete needs during their sports season and workouts.

Want to know more? Check out these resources for making smart nutrition choices for your daughter’s next workout.

Summary

  1. Forego bars loaded with refined sugar and apply Palinski-Wade’s Rule of 5. 
  2. Read labels and choose whole foods over processed or refined ingredients.
  3. Plan for healthy pre-workout snacks and recovery foods that provide steady energy and recovery nutrients.

Let us know what bars you’ve found best for pre and post-game, practices, and workouts.

Dragonwing IconSpecial Thanks to Abby G. for her research and for compiling great resources we can all use.

Dragonwing Chill Weight: sports leggings, capris, fitted tops for girls

 

 

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Corie Barry: From Rugby Field to CEO

There’s no arguing the fitness benefits for girls playing sports — but does it really increase their likelihood of success later in life? Athletics teach values that go far beyond the court or field: cooperation, determination, discipline, and how to succeed under pressure. 

As more women enter the C-Suite, it’s notable how many laid the foundation for their success playing competitive sports early in life.

Corie Barry spent much of her career with Best Buy, having served as Chief Financial Officer before being named CEO. Before that, she played college rugby and considered a career in dance. For her, an impressive title and resume must include her husband and two kids, youth baseball games, gymnastics with her daughter, and active time spent together with her family. 

“My point of view is there is no perfect balance,” says Barry. “All you can do is figure out what works for you. I laugh because I’m always the mom who shows up at the baseball game in my heels, and that’s OK.” 

Read Corie Barry Becomes Fifth CEO in Best Buy History

Whether it’s business or sports, Barry has advice we can all use. “I’ve always felt it’s important to demand a return on your investment. If you’re going to put your time in, where you put it in and the return you get is incredibly important because there are only so many hours in a day.”

Corie’s is an inspiring success story for athletic girls in every sport.

Dragonwing Chill Weight: sports leggings, capris, fitted tops for girlsRead “Boardrooms And Ballfields: Best Buy CFO Corie Barry Talks Motherhood” 

 

Click to shop new Chill Weight Leggings and Support Tops

Misty Copeland on Finding Your Voice

Misty Copeland - Studio RehearsalResilience. Strength. Grace.

All characteristics of premier athlete and of barrier-breaker, Misty Copeland. Despite being told her form didn’t match historically accepted ballet techniques and that she was too athletic, Misty redefined what it means to be a ballerina.

Misty Copeland is the first black female principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theater.

She recently spoke with Susan Jaffe, Dean of Dance at the UNC School of the Arts in Chapel Hill, NC, to share her experiences and how she found her voice through her art.

Here are our five favorite takeaways from their conversation.

  1. Evaluate the source of comments and opinions, and then decide how much weight they deserve. Negative comments might have derailed Misty’s love of ballet, but instead, she chose carefully to whom she would listen and discovered the wisdom of listening to herself.
  2. Mentors play a significant role. Mentors helped guide Misty through challenges and provided the support network needed for success. Her first dance teacher, Cindy Bradley, was instrumental in setting Misty on the course that would shape her future.
  3. Resilience is the attitude you use to overcome challenges. It’s not enough to keep trying, you have to see setbacks and failures for what they are: opportunities to learn and grow. It can be applied to how you rebound from a bad practice – you choose to focus on what went wrong, or you decide to focus on how you can do better.
  4. Love who you are because that is the source of your strength. Misty loves her muscular body, and it’s what won over critics. What most saw, in the early days, as a negative, she turned into an asset.
  5. Keep it simple, and it will inform how you control your body (and mind.) When asked how she keeps her upper body so still, Misty shared her philosophy to keep it simple and to not add anything unnecessary to a move. This dance tip can be applied to any sport and really, to any part of our lives. 

With these reflections, two more words come to mind when describing Misty Copeland.

Intelligence. Wisdom. 

Celebrating its 15th season, Carolina Performing Arts is amplifying the creative leadership of women through performances and art. Check out their schedule for upcoming events. (Keeping with ballet, Wendy Whelan is on the schedule!)

If you enjoyed this article, consider saying or leaving a comment below.

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This one thing could keep your tween girl in sports

Thanks to Chris Deacon for her excellent journalism in the Sept 6 issue of Today’s Parent. Her article follows!

Studies show that girls start quitting sports in the tween years—this solution might surprise you.

Growing up, Juanita Lee ran track and rowed, but her sport of choice was tennis. She played the game from age six until age 14 when— seemingly overnight— her breasts grew from a 32A to 34DD.

The change immediately set her apart from her more petite, flat-chested opponents and made the teenager extremely self-conscious. She hated the sensation of her breasts moving when she ran on the court and how exposed she felt in her scoop-neck tennis dress whose padded cups only accentuated her size. And because breasts move independently of the body, (both up and down and side to side,) Lee also started experiencing breast pain, an issue she was too embarrassed to discuss with her parents. Not long after, Juanita used a sports injury as an excuse to quit tennis altogether and turned her attention to rowing, where breast movement wasn’t an issue, and running, a sport that—while still painful—meant she could wear baggy t-shirts for coverage.

Lee isn’t the only girl whose breast development has affected their participation in sports. In a 2016 survey of more than 2,000 British girls aged 11 to 18, nearly three-quarters said their breasts got in the way of enjoying sports. According to the study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, when girls hit puberty they start pulling out of athletics and skipping gym class to avoid the pain and embarrassment of breasts that are either too big, too small or —the chief complaint—too bouncy.

It turns out there could be an easy fix—a sports bra. While a given for professional female athletes, this undergarment is often omitted from the equipment list of girls’ sports teams. And while jockstraps are offered to boys for protection and to prevent discomfort caused by excessive movement during exercise, sports bras that serve the same purpose for girls have not been a part of the cultural conversation. In fact, only 10 percent of girls surveyed in the British study had worn one.

So how can a parent navigate the tricky terrain of breast development and sports with their tween? Here are five tips:

Start the conversation early: Your daughter may not need the support of a sports bra yet, but it’s worth tackling the topic early on, before she gets embarrassed about it. If she’s not ready for the discussion in the moment, MaryAnne Gucciardi—whose company, Dragonwing girlgear specializes in performance base-layers such as sports bras and support tops for girls aged 8 to 17, encourages parents to stick with it. “It’s a hard conversation for a parent,” she says, noting that dads in particular, have a hard time with the topic, “but it’s even harder for a child. They don’t know yet what they need. They just know what they’re feeling.”

Be matter of fact: Gucciardi also suggests sticking with the facts when broaching the idea of a sports bra. “You could say something like, “I want you to play your best. I want you to feel comfortable, and have good support to prevent injury and stay healthy and just like boys with a jockstrap for support and to prevent injury, this is what girls wear,’” she says. Explain to you daughter the difference between your average tween bra (which often looks like a sports bra) and the real thing. Most tween bras are made with thin cotton and flimsy straps. A good sports bra, by contrast, has smooth but stretchy fabric that moves as the athlete moves, with straps and a band that stay in place.

Shop it alone: While the odd girl might enjoy looking for a bra with her mom, most don’t, says Gucciardi, so parents should start the process. One idea, she says, is to buy a few different styles of sports bras and support tops and leave them in your daughter’s drawer—while keeping in mind she probably won’t model them for you. “She might have you hand them back and forth until she finds one that she likes,” she says, “Be patient. If you let her control the conversation, then she’ll feel in control of her body.”

Go for fit: Thirteen-year-old Melanie Paulson’s* parents have been helping her shop for sports bras since she started developing breasts in Grade 4, with little success. “I don’t find them very comfortable,” says the avid hockey player, who now shops in the women’s section. But many women’s sport bras are padded which makes breasts look bigger—the last thing most tweens and teens want. And Gucciardi cautions that an improper fit—caused by a bra that’s too big— can lead to back problems. “You could have a bigger bust but a small rib-cage,” she explains, suggesting that parents seek out sports bras that are specifically designed for tweens and teens, and that take this silhouette variation into account so that the fit is precise. Lululemon, Nike and Gucciardi’s brand all carry quality sports bras for this age group. Look for a fit that is snug but not tight with straps that don’t droop or slip. And if you’re buying online, it’s worth taking the time to measure your daughter and refer to the size chart rather than order the size that corresponds to her age. Parents should measure just under the rib cage to get the right fit as opposed to across the chest, and, when the bra is on, be able to fit not more than one finger under the band. The band should be as wide as possible while still being comfortable for your child.

Comfort is key: Gucciardi recommends quality sports bras that use high performance, moisture wicking fabric (that moves the sweat away from the skin) with mesh for coolness and breath-ability. “Girls get super embarrassed when they think they sweat and smell and that people notice it,” she says. Also look for thin, removable pads for coverage and softness. “Nipples showing is another source of embarrassment,” she says. Nipple chafing— especially common with runners— is also an issue. Finally, choose a sports bra that’s seamless and tag-free to prevent irritation.

Now that you’ve got a bra for your daughter, can you really expect it to be the difference between giving up sports and staying in the game? For Juanita Lee, now 27, the answer is—absolutely. “I was kind of a shy kid and I never felt comfortable saying, ”oh, my boobs hurt.” she says. In grade 10, Lee got her first sports bra at the suggestion of her female rugby coach, and she played rugby until the end of high school.

*Name has been changed.

TEACHING GIRLS TO BE GREAT COMPETITORS: WSJ 4/13/19

Sharing this Wall Street Journal article. Our take — Girls CAN and should be unapologetically competitive and CAN be friends.

TEACHING GIRLS TO BE GREAT COMPETITORS: WSJ 4/13/19
By
Jennifer Breheny Wallace
https://www.wsj.com/articles/teaching-girls-to-be-great-competitors-11555061400

April 12, 2019 5:30 a.m. ET
Young girls today are taught to believe that they can be anything they want to be: “Girl power!” But reaching for the top requires a healthy competitive drive, and new research shows that many girls have trouble managing the stress and emotions that go along with competition. This reluctance to compete can have an impact on girls’ educational choices, career trajectories and eventual earning power, contributing to the historic pay gap between men and women. Fortunately, psychologists say that parents can help girls to become more comfortable with competition—as long as the focus is on the right kind of striving against others.

For many young people today, society’s definition of success is narrow: getting straight A’s, gaining admission to an elite college and launching a good career. Girls know that they are competing with their friends for educational and work opportunities. But while most boys are socialized to think that competing is fun, even when battling it out with their closest friends, most girls are conditioned from a young age to work together to reach their goals.

A study of nearly 60 affluent girls in grades six to 12, published last year in the Journal of Adolescent Research, found that they feel pressure not to acknowledge their aspirations openly, which adds to their stress. For two consecutive years, researchers conducted in-depth interviews with students, parents and teachers from two independent, single-sex schools to discover the major stress factors facing the young girls. One significant source was “peer competition” and a lack of adult guidance on how to navigate being part of a close-knit but competitive community. According to the researchers, “Many of these girls talked about heightened anxiety and stress and even low self-esteem as a consequence of feeling like they were not meeting the high standards and keeping up with their peers.”

Lead researcher Renee Spencer, a professor of social work at Boston University, says that competition is “more complex for girls because their relationships are so central to their well-being.” Girls can struggle to reconcile their desire to be a strong competitor with being a good friend, says child psychologist Lisa Damour, author of ”Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls,” in part because of the mixed messages they receive. “Parents sometimes conflate being ambitious with being unkind, so, without even realizing it, they may signal that girls should temper their striving in order to protect them from criticism,” says Dr. Damour. Adults have been so pointed about directing girls to be nice, she says, that many girls don’t even know that having a competitive drive can be good for them.

Researchers distinguish between healthy and unhealthy competitive feelings. A healthy competitive attitude is driven by a personal desire to excel, finds joy in competing against worthy opponents and is associated with high self-esteem and prosocial behavior. Unhealthy competition, on the other hand, is driven by the desire to display superiority over an opponent, relishes an opponent’s loss and is associated with low self-esteem, anger, depression and anxiety.

Which type of competition a young person engages in can depend on the tools they have to manage the complex feelings involved. In a study of adolescents presented at the 2018 Canadian Conference on Developmental Psychology, researchers Tamara Humphrey and Tracy Vaillancourt examined the relationship among competitive behavior, jealousy and aggression in 615 Canadian adolescents from seventh grade to 12th grade. Using self-reported questionnaires, they found that on average, the boys reported more unhealthy competitive behavior than the girls, but the girls were more jealous and more likely to use indirect aggression, such as exclusion and gossip, than the boys. Unhealthy competitive behavior in lower grades predicted higher levels of jealousy in grades 10 and 11, and greater use of direct and indirect aggression in 12th grade.

Parents can teach girls to reframe jealous feelings and use them instead for inspiration.

Dr. Vaillancourt, a professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, says that when we compare ourselves to someone who is better at some skill or activity, we feel jealous, and it is tempting to try to repair our fractured ego by employing indirect aggression, like cutting our competitor down. What is harder, she says, “is accepting when we are falling short and finding ways to remedy it, like working or training harder and building more relationships.”

So what can parents do to help encourage healthy competition in girls and discourage the unhealthy kind? Dr. Vaillancourt says that they can teach girls to reframe jealous feelings and use them instead for inspiration. Instead of lingering on negative emotions, they can ask “How did my opponent achieve this and what can I learn from them to better myself?”

When girls are young, parents can reinforce the idea that being a fierce competitor isn’t only acceptable but desirable by modeling healthy competitive behavior. Dr. Damour says, “When you’re playing games with your children, instead of letting them win, which sends the signal that beating them is unkind, parents can play to win while also being encouraging and celebrating their daughters whenever they make a smart move.”

For adolescent girls, it is helpful to make a clear distinction between being an aggressive competitor and being an aggressive person, notes Dr. Damour. “When I’m watching the Olympics with my daughters,” she says, “I point out how the female athletes push each other so hard when they’re competing, but when they come across the finish line, they immediately congratulate and hug one another.”

Girls need to internalize the message that being a competitive person and a good, supportive friend don’t have to be at odds with one another, says Dr. Damour: “They can be felt one right after the other.”

Kathrine Switzer: First Woman to Enter the Boston Marathon

For the Dragonwing team, this video makes us emotional – especially when Jock Semple tries to pull her out. Kathrine’s quote “all of a sudden this was very important … nobody believes I can do this.. and if I don’t finish, people will think all women can’t.” she finished in 4 hrs and 20 min. KV Switzer (and whoever wears #261 -how lucky are you!)

You can watch the video here.

Kathrine Switzer: First Woman to Enter the Boston Marathon

Nutrition for athletic girls is a source of confidence!

March is National Nutrition Month and we’d like to share tips on good nutrition for girl athletes.  Balance is key. It is important to include lean protein, nutrient rich carbohydrates (whole grain, non GMO if possible), low-fat dairy, fruits, and vegetables in an athlete’s diet. It is essential to be properly hydrated, so drink your water throughout the day! Some folks say 1/2 your body weight in ounces – shoot for at least eight glasses.

To prep for a game, start out with a hearty breakfast rich in carbohydrates to keep your energy up, move on to a balanced lunch containing protein vegi, carbohydrate combination, spread out protein consumption throughout the day, try to avoid bad fatty foods (eat the good ones like avocado), and eat your last meal two to three hours before game time to be sure you have digested it. For our recommendations for post-game recovery foods check out our guide here!

Join the conversation and leave us a comment on what food routine works for you.

(photo source: mountain-bike-world)

“Dear Dragonwing Girl…” Wise Words From A Bad Cookie


Dear Dragonwing Girl,

I would like to start by saying you are amazing. No matter who you are, where you are, or what you have done to get to this point right now, you’re amazing. You have unlimited untapped potential and only the sky is the limit. I’m sure you’ve heard this before from loving grandparents whilst they grab your cheeks and squeeze you in a constricting hug, but right now- at this moment- I want you to read carefully. You are all the attributes I listed before and more; you are beautiful, strong, and smart and you can do everything you want to and more.

Despite you and I knowing these things to be true, some will doubt you. Some will doubt you without even knowing you, and some will doubt you right after seeing your name on a resume. These some will be men, but they will also be women. Most will do this unconsciously, and I implore you to not be angry at them for the ignorance and bias they hold. I implore you to fight the fight of being a career-driven girl in a world run by men.

Though it is important to not hold anger for the world being the way it is, do not conform to the need to be “pleasant” or “calm” or “collected.” You can speak out when you see small forms of misogyny in your school or workplace. Whether it be a man dominating the discussion, or a guy in your group making snide comments, you can step up. You can make your voice be heard because you won’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Because you can.

So, stay strong because it can be hard sometimes. You might be called selfish or bossy or any other number of terms people like to use for women who don’t conform to their stereotypes, but if you struggle, if you stand your ground, if you fight for what you want, then we will be one step closer to gender equality.

Sincerely,

Your friend at Dragonwing girlgear, Abby

Our Five Favorite Tween Brands – We Bet They’ll be Yours, Too!

Being a mom of a tween-aged girl (that is, an 8-13 year old) can be a challenge, to be sure. That sweet girl you once knew is changing in a lot of ways, and finding out what she really does and doesn’t like. These years are a big part of shaping the woman she’ll become, and your support – however much she thinks she doesn’t need it – is critical.

This is particularly true for active girls, as this is the age when so many of our daughters stop participating in organized sports. The factors contributing to that decline in participation are varied, and as unique as the girls themselves, but one consistently cited reason is a lack of confidence. Confidence in their abilities, their changing body, in possessing a skill set that will take them to the next level.

That’s why we love these brands that focus on tween girls! Each one is focused on inspiring confidence in your favorite girl. From putting her best face forward, from clothing to footwear, stylish bags and of course the BEST athletic gear for girls, these are the tip-top providers of tween products.

CALZICO

Calzico offers fun and functional fashion that inspires confidence! Their cute and versatile age-appropriate clothing for tweens ages 6-14 includes soft reversible tees, dresses, jackets and skirts, so your favorite girl can be confident and comfy from the classroom to the playground!

Calzico’s creations flip, zip, and layer! Their zipskirt (with the removable layer) or the reversible jacket that can be worn four ways mean your favorite tween can create over 20 different looks with just a few pieces. Designing garments with greater versatility, comfort, and function is Calzico’s central focus — so many ways, she’ll have outfits for days!

Founder Shannon Tennyson counts on daughter Callie (the “Cal” in Calzico) to review sketches and provide design, fit and style input. Together, they makes sure every item is well-designed enough to last multiple seasons and provide a variety of different looks. To get their amazing 4-in-one jacket or top-selling zipskirt, visit them online at calzico.com. If you’re not ready to buy just yet, sign up for their updates and receive their free Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist for Tweens, free!

VISIT CALZICO HERE

Dragonwing girlgear

Ready to find the products that will make your daughter strong beneath it all? From the moment she steps out the door to the high-fives after practice, Dragonwing girl gear lets her know that you’re there to support her, all day long!

Dragonwing girlgear founder MaryAnne Gucciardi struggled to find age-appropriate, supportive athletic gear for her daughter. Clothes in the girls’ departments were all fashion-focused and made of lower quality fabrics, not meant for real athletes. Women’s athletic wear didn’t fit and wasn’t age-appropriate. Forced to shop in the boy’s department, everything was ill-fitting. Shopping trips were awkward and sent the subliminal message that being athletic and strong wasn’t feminine.

So MaryAnne set out to design her own solution, a line of performance wear designed for pre-teen and teen girls. No wedgies. No slipping straps. A fit that’s snug. But not tight. Made for the sports they play. She calls it girlgear.

The result was something even greater, that gives girls the freedom and confidence to focus on the competition, skills, and teamwork of the sports they love, empowering them to play – and be – their best. Dragonwing offers not just the ultimate in sports bras, but camis, compression shorts and leggings with good looks that are only surpassed by their performance… just like your unstoppable daughter!

SHOP DRAGONWING HERE

prep skincarePrep Cosmetics

Great skin starts at an early age! Prep Skincare gives your tween a line of age-appropriate and fun cleansers, moisturizers and more to inspire habits that will protect her skin for a lifetime! There are no cutting edge ingredients in PREP’s formulas because at this age, girls just need good tried and true, safe ingredients that won’t cause them harm as their bodies develop and grow.

PREP Cosmetics is on a journey to empower young girls to take care of their skin and their health. She’ll be thankful today to have a beauty routine that is all her own, and even more thankful tomorrow for the positive effects protection from the sun will have on her skin and her confidence.

GET THEIR STARTER KIT, HERE.

PREP’s Chief Medical Officer, Carole Aponte, MD recommends girls use the starter kit every day to keep their healthy skin clean, fresh and protected. Each order comes with their PREP skincare 101 guide, which teaches girls how and when to use each product.

 

Sari Bari handmade productsSari Bari

While Sari Bari most certainly isn’t limited to items that appeal to tweens (those bed covers are AMAZING!), we love their mission and their promise and it’s a great message to share with our daughters.

Their unique products are made in Kolkata, by women exiting the commercial sex trade or who are vulnerable to exploitation or trafficking. The Sari Bari promise doesn’t stop with the job –  they firmly believe that’s not where the freedom journey ends. Holistic care is a high value at Sari Bari, which is why they journey with women as partners in their social support needs as they continue to take courageous steps towards restoration and wholeness.

Watch their video to see them in action:

Ready to check out a unique gift that gives back to the world? Your tween will collect about a million compliments on her Meye Messenger Bag!

Hannah's ShoeboxHannah’s Shoe Box

Your tween girl’s feet may be as big as yours, but that doesn’t mean women’s shoes are appropriate or even comfortable!

Hannah’s Shoebox was created after the store’s owner, a mother, became frustrated with her challenge to find age-appropriate shoes for her then six-year-old daughter who was wearing a size six shoe at that time. Her daughter’s shoe size continued to match her age until she reached age 11. By that time, the challenge to find age-appropriate shoes had become even more difficult. That’s when and why Hannah’s Shoebox was born.

Don’t waste another dime on poorly-made shoes that just don’t meet your daughter’s needs! Hannah’s Shoe Box offer quality shoes in women’s sizes 5-13 that are undeniably cute and age-appropriate for tweens! Every style and occasion is covered, from every day school and uniform shoes to special-occasion, with the boots, wedges and sandals your girl wants.

BROWSE THE GREAT STYLES HERE!

 

So, the more you know, the easier this “parenting-a-tween” thing gets, right? Inspire her confidence in all areas of her life – with these great brands and your support, you know she can take on the world! Be sure to share this post with other moms – they’ll thank you later!

*Money can buy you lots of great Dragonwing gear, but it can’t buy you love! These opinions are solely our own, based on personal knowledge of the above products. These are not affiliate links, and no promotional fees have been paid.

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