Are you eating dinner at 4 pm or 9 pm? If you are, then you must be a youth sports parent. When it comes to youth sports, proper nutrition plays a vital role in supporting young athletes’ performance and overall health. As a coach, parent, or guardian, you have the power to provide your young athletes with the fuel they need to become champions. Get our healthy meal prep ideas to make your life a bit easier.
Get our variety of healthy meal prep and recipe ideas specifically designed to nourish and energize youth sports athletes. These are also meals that young athletes will like. From quick breakfast options to post-practice snacks and satisfying dinners, these recipes are sure to keep your young athletes fueled and ready to conquer the game!
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for young athletes. Kickstart their day with power-packed options. But don’t be afraid to give them something healthy that doesn’t fall into a typical breakfast category. If your athlete wants chicken, why not? Be creative and have fun.
- Protein Pancakes: Whip up a batch of fluffy pancakes made with whole-grain flour and protein powder. Serve with a side of fresh fruits for added vitamins and antioxidants.
- Overnight Oats: Combine rolled oats, milk (or non-dairy alternatives), and a variety of toppings like berries, nuts, and honey. Leave it in the fridge overnight for a ready-to-eat breakfast in the morning.
- Veggie Omelet: Prepare a delicious omelet using egg whites and a colorful array of chopped vegetables. Serve with whole-wheat toast for a complete meal.
Snacks are crucial for maintaining energy levels during practices and games. Try these easy and nutritious options. If you don’t want to make your own, check out some from the supermarket. Also, toss a piece of fruit in the bag, easy to carry on trips.
- Energy Balls: Combine dates, nuts, oats, and a touch of honey in a food processor. Roll into bite-sized balls for a quick and energy-boosting snack. This is one of our favorites.
- Greek Yogurt Parfait: Layer Greek yogurt, granola, and mixed berries in a mason jar. This parfait provides a balance of protein, fiber, and antioxidants.
- Hummus and Veggies: Pair homemade hummus with sliced carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers. It’s a delicious and nutrient-rich snack.
Lunchtime should be a balanced and satisfying meal. Consider these options. The best thing about all of these meals is that they are healthy but also there are many options to switch ingredients. Get creative and have fun!
- Chicken Wrap: Fill a whole-wheat tortilla with grilled chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado. Add a spread of hummus or Greek yogurt for extra flavor.
- Quinoa Salad: Combine cooked quinoa, mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, diced cucumbers, and feta cheese. Toss with a light vinaigrette for a refreshing and nutritious salad.
- Turkey and Veggie Skewers: Alternate grilled turkey breast and colorful veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes on skewers. Serve with a side of whole-grain pita bread.
Dinner is the time to refuel and repair after a day of physical activity. Try these wholesome dinner ideas. Some of our favorites keep in the fridge for a few days.
- Baked Salmon: Season a salmon fillet with herbs and lemon juice, then bake until flaky. Serve with a side of steamed vegetables and quinoa or brown rice.
- Lean Meat Tacos: Fill whole-wheat tortillas with lean ground turkey or grilled chicken, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt for a healthier twist. Make it ahead of time, you can freeze the meat for long-term shelf life.
3. Don’t forget the meal prep containers. On a free day, make some of these ahead of time so you can freeze the food for meals over a couple of weeks.
Proper nutrition is key to maximizing performance and supporting the overall health of youth sports athletes. With these healthy and easy recipes, you can ensure that your young champions are fueled with the nutrients they need to excel in their chosen sports. So, let’s get cooking and fuel our future sports stars one delicious and nutritious meal at a time!
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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. Before coaching, she was a collegiate field hockey player for Lock Haven University. In her spare time (lol), she is head of marketing for iSport360 and the co-editor of the Youth Sports Survival Guide. The Youth Sports Survival Guide is the largest youth sports newsletter in the world.