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7 Best Lunch Ideas for Youth Sports Athletes

Providing nutritious and energy-packed lunches for youth sports athletes is crucial to supporting their performance and overall health. Here are seven lunch ideas that offer a good balance of essential nutrients and energy for young athletes:

  1. Turkey and Avocado Wrap:

   – Whole-grain wrap or tortilla

   – Sliced turkey

   – Sliced avocado

   – Lettuce and tomato

   – Low-fat cheese

   – Hummus or Greek yogurt as a spread

  1. Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry:

   – Grilled or stir-fried chicken breast strips

   – Mixed vegetables (bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, snap peas)

   – Brown rice or quinoa

   – Low-sodium soy sauce or a teriyaki sauce with reduced sugar

  1. Pasta Salad with Veggies and Protein:

   – Whole-grain pasta

   – Chopped cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers

   – Diced grilled chicken or lean turkey

   – Olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing

   – Parmesan cheese (optional)

  1. Homemade Bean Burritos:

   – Whole-grain tortillas

   – Black beans or pinto beans

   – Grilled or sautéed vegetables (bell peppers, onions, zucchini)

   – Salsa, low-fat sour cream, or Greek yogurt as toppings

   – Shredded cheese (in moderation)

  1. Salmon and Quinoa Bowl:

   – Baked or grilled salmon

   – Cooked quinoa

   – Steamed broccoli and spinach

   – Sliced avocado

   – Lemon vinaigrette or a light citrus dressing

  1. Hummus and Veggie Platter:

   – Whole-wheat pita bread or crackers

   – Hummus

   – Sliced cucumbers, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and baby carrots

   – Sliced fruit (e.g., apple or pear) for a sweet touch

  1. Turkey and Cheese Quesadillas:

   – Whole-grain tortillas

   – Sliced turkey

   – Low-fat cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, or Swiss)

   – Sautéed spinach and bell peppers

   – Salsa or guacamole for dipping

For all these lunch ideas, it’s important to ensure proper hydration as well. Encourage young athletes to drink water or a sports drink with electrolytes before, during, and after their sports activities to stay properly hydrated.

Additionally, it’s essential to consider individual dietary restrictions, preferences, and allergies when preparing lunches for youth sports athletes. Tailoring the meals to their specific needs and tastes will help ensure they get the nutrients and energy they require for optimal performance.

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About the author: 

Amy Masters is a sports mom, coach, and club administrator. She has been coaching youth sports for more than 10 years. She started Jr Lions Field Hockey, the youth recreation program for the Hunterdon County community growing it from 40 players in year 1 to 150 players by year 3. A few years later, she saw the love and competitiveness grow then started Omega Field Hockey Club serving NJ and PA players. Prior to coaching, she was a collegiate field hockey player for Lock Haven University. In her spare time (lol), she is head of marketing for iSport360, where she brings her love of sports to a bigger audience. 

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November 14, 2023

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