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Easy Meal Prep Ideas for Athletes

Whether you eat dinner at 4 pm or 9 pm, being prepared helps your athletes stay healthy. And it helps you stay sane not worrying about what you are eating each night. We are big fans of meal prep.

As a former youth sports mom, meal prepping taught my athletes many lessons besides just staying healthy. It empowered them to own their whole athlete experience. Plus, they were able to dictate what they wanted to eat. 

Youth sports athletes lead busy lives, juggling school, training sessions, and competitions. Proper nutrition is essential for supporting their physical performance, recovery, and overall health. 

However, finding the time and energy to prepare nutritious meals can be challenging amidst a packed schedule. That’s where meal prep comes in handy. With a little planning and organization, you can ensure that your young athlete stays fueled and ready to perform at their best. Here are some easy meal prep ideas tailored specifically for youth sports athletes:

Here are our Meal Prep Ideas

Overnight Oats: 

Overnight oats are a convenient and nutritious breakfast option that can be prepared in advance. Simply combine rolled oats, milk, or yogurt, and your choice of toppings. Our suggestions are fruit, nuts, or seeds, in a mason jar or container. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, and in the morning, your athlete will have a delicious and satisfying meal ready to go.

Smoothie Packs: 

Smoothies are an excellent way to pack a variety of nutrients into one portable and easy-to-consume meal. Prep smoothie packs by portioning out frozen fruit, leafy greens, protein powder, and any other desired add-ins into individual freezer bags. In the morning, simply blend the contents of a smoothie pack with your choice of liquid (such as milk or juice) for a quick and nourishing breakfast or post-workout snack.

Grilled Chicken and Veggie Bowls: 

Grilled chicken and veggie bowls are a versatile and customizable meal option that can be prepped in bulk and enjoyed throughout the week. Grill or bake chicken breasts seasoned with your favorite herbs and spices, then slice or shred them for easy portioning. Roast a variety of vegetables such as sweet potatoes, broccoli, and bell peppers to add color and flavor to the bowls. Serve with cooked quinoa, brown rice, or whole wheat pasta for a balanced and satisfying meal.

Pasta Salad: 

Pasta salad is a refreshing and portable meal that can be enjoyed hot or cold. Cook whole wheat pasta according to package instructions and toss with a variety of chopped vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives. Add protein-rich ingredients such as diced chicken breast, tofu, or beans to make the salad more filling. Dress with a vinaigrette or marinara sauce for added flavor.

Homemade Energy Bars: 

Store-bought energy bars can be expensive and loaded with added sugars and preservatives. Instead, try making your own homemade energy bars using simple and wholesome ingredients. Combine rolled oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and a binder such as honey or nut butter in a food processor, then press the mixture into a baking dish and chill until firm. Cut into bars or squares for a convenient and nutritious snack on the go.

Greek Yogurt Parfaits: 

Greek yogurt parfaits are a delicious and protein-rich snack that can be customized to suit your athlete’s tastes. Layer Greek yogurt with granola, fresh fruit, and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup in individual containers or mason jars. For added convenience, prep several parfaits at once and store them in the refrigerator for quick and easy snacking throughout the week.

Turkey and Cheese Roll-Ups: 

Turkey and cheese roll-ups are a simple yet satisfying snack that provides a good balance of protein and carbohydrates. Lay slices of turkey breast on a clean surface, spread with hummus or cream cheese, and place a slice of cheese and a few spinach leaves on top. Roll up the turkey slices tightly and secure them with toothpicks for a portable and protein-packed snack.

Trail Mix: 

Trail mix is a convenient and energizing snack that can be customized to suit your athlete’s preferences. Combine a variety of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and whole grain cereal in a large bowl, then portion out into individual snack bags or containers for easy grab-and-go snacking.

Roasted Chickpeas: 

Roasted chickpeas are a crunchy and satisfying snack that provides a good source of plant-based protein and fiber. Simply drain and rinse canned chickpeas, toss with olive oil and seasonings such as garlic powder, paprika, and sea salt, then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until crispy. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container for on-the-go snacking.

Mini Veggie Frittatas: 

Mini veggie frittatas are a portable and protein-rich breakfast option that can be enjoyed hot or cold. Whisk together eggs, milk, and your choice of chopped vegetables, cheese, and cooked protein (such as diced ham or turkey sausage) in a large bowl, then pour into greased muffin tins and bake until set. Let cool before storing in the refrigerator or freezer for easy reheating during busy mornings.

Incorporating these easy meal prep ideas into your young athlete’s routine can help ensure that they have access to nutritious and satisfying meals and snacks, even during the busiest of times. By planning ahead and making smart choices, you can support your athlete’s performance and overall well-being both on and off the field.

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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.

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June 14, 2024

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