Healthy Recipes and Competition Day Meal Planning from Special Olympics


Special Olympics Healthy LivingSpecial Olympics BC has partnered with Action Schools! BC to develop the Special Olympics: Healthy Living for Families  booklet that includes best practices to assist elementary and middle schools in creating and implementing individualized action plans to promote healthy living while achieving academic outcomes and supporting comprehensive school health. The Special Olympics BC Healthy Living Booklet supports Special Olympics athletes, their coaches and families, by being a source for tips on healthy eating and hydration. Nutritious recipes and grocery shopping ideas help families prepare healthy food to fuel performance.

Many pages in the booklet are designed to be free-standing and printed as posters or handouts.

The Healthy Eating Facts: Ways to Make Healthier Choices Every Day page summarizes the basics of food guidelines: “By increasing vegetable and fruit intake and decreasing the amount of sodium (salt) and sugary drinks we consume, we are more likely to eat food that will provide our bodies with healthy fuel.” The page outlines the following recommendations:

Vegetables and Fruit:

  • Kids aged 4 to 8: try to eat 5 servings a day.
  • Kids aged 9 to 13: try to eat 6 servings a day.
  • Teens aged 14 to 18: try to eat 7-8 servings a day.
  • Adults aged 19 to 50: try to eat 7-10 servings a day.
  • Try to eat a variety of colourful vegetables and fruit each day.
  • Choose vegetables and fruit more often than juice.

Sugary Drinks

  • Sugar is a major ingredient in many popular drinks.
  • Choose drinks that contain no added sugar most of the time.
  • Drinking sugary drinks may “bump out” healthier drinks and food.
  • Satisfy thirst with water.

Sodium (Salt)

  • Most of us eat too much sodium; more than double the amount we need.
  • Eating too much sodium can cause health problems.
  • Most of the sodium we eat comes from processed food such as cheese, deli meats, pizza sauces, soups, restaurant meals, pre-packaged ready-to-eat food and fast food.

Special Olympics Healthy Living

The booklet uses pictures to demonstrate what a serving of food looks like (for example, on a standard dinner plate). It offers Sugary Drink Facts and visually illustrates the sugar content of popular drinks using pictures of sugar cubes.

There are directions on how to read a commercial Nutrition Label and a page of Sodium Facts.

There are pages on Nutrition and Exercise – The Basics that give outlines on the dietary basics required to prepare for and engage in active sports. “Think of your body like a race car. A race car needs a great driver and high quality fuel. If the gas tank is low or it has the wrong type of fuel, the car won’t run at its best. Just like the race car, your bodies need proper nutrition to perform at your best.”

There is a page on The Importance of Water with a simple guideline to tell if one is hydrated.

The booklet finishes with a food planning guide for competition days, along with recipes and a shopping list, and a list of Healthy Living Resources for Families and Healthy Recipe Sources.

Other resources accessible on the same web page include:

  • Special Olympics TRAIN at Home Nutrition Guide, which has a printable chart for monitoring progress in meeting nutritional goals.

Nutrition and grocery shopping tips, including a grocery shopping template, more nutritious, child-friendly recipes, and tips on meal planning.