U.S. gold medalist and soccer player extraordinaire Mia Hamm is as competitive as an athlete can be. Team Mom on Yahoo! Shine recently spoke with her by phone while she was playing in a golf tournament with her college coaches. "We have one more hole and we're in the hunt," said Hamm as she hit pause on our chat to, as she put it, "go knock the snot out of the ball." It made us love her even more.
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Knowing how much Hamm likes to win, it's hard to imagine that growing up, she was a quitter. She told Team Mom: "For me, I was naturally competitive and it was more so about staying committed because I didn't like losing. When my team would fall behind, I would quit." Hamm even wrote a children's book, "Winner's Never Quit!", which tells the story of a young girl named Mia, who plays soccer and quits before she could lose a game. Hamm's parents taught her the value of working through -- and learning from -- the touch patches of competitive sports. "Dealing with that failure, and as you get older, not accepting losing but realizing that you can learn from it, and that you don't help your team if you give up. You don't have to be the best but you commit to something have to stick with it. Especially if you're on a team sport, your team is relying on you."
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Hamm retired from playing soccer in 2004 after she helped the U.S. team win a gold medal. (She was also a part of the 1996 and 2000 medal-winning teams). She's now a mom to 5-year-old twin girls with husband and former MLB infielder, Nomar Garciaparra. Their daughters dance ballet and play soccer, and the most important thing to Hamm is that her girls experience the health and social benefits of participating in sports.
"I want them to be active and healthy," she told Team Mom. "For both my husband and I, sports has been a huge part of our lives. And we know the benefits, especially for young girls. Finding that inner confidence and ability to express themselves, deal with failure, communication...all these things that when you sign up you're not thinking about but that you learn valuable lessons in life."
Since Hamm is the ultimate soccer mom, we knew she'd have some tricks in her bag for snack time. "Well you know kids, they always change their mind," she laughed, "so, it seems like I feel like I have a go-to and then I don't." Hamm recently joined up with the Grain Foods Foundation to promote healthy eating habits. She said she tries to make sure that her daughters have a healthy balance of food instead of eating "tons of one thing."
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So what makes the (current) list of good eats for Hamm's kids?
-Chicken tacos are a hit with the Hamm-Garciaparra girls. "They really like shredded chicken on a tortilla with a little bit of cheese," says Hamm.
-Pasta with a little bit of butter and broccoli are also a favorite for the girls, who will enter kindergarten in the fall.
-Fruits of all kinds. We want to try this recipe for strawberries and bananas with grilled cinnamon French toast and granola.
-Carrots. Baby carrots are easy for kids to eat and even easier for mom or dad to pack as portable snacks.
-Whole-grain goldfish. But hide the bag after snack time; once you start eating these treats, you won't be able to stop.
What's on your list of go-to snacks for your kids?