Fueling our Young Athletes for Performance

My family asked me to put together a list of healthy meals and snacks to pack for my 13 yo sister during her Volleyball tournaments. They thought it would be something helpful to also share with the other parents of the team.

I think this is an extremely important component in young athletes’ performances.  As parents, we have the most control over making the best decisions for these young athletes!

I thought it would be helpful to share what I put together. There are many views on nutrition, however, for her age bracket I feel this is most appropriate to meet their needs and taste buds.

Please feel free to pass around to other young athletes and their parents!

Fueling our athletes for performance

FOOD IS FUEL

 

 

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Summer Side Dishes

The summer months are filled with BBQ’s and gatherings with friends and family, which can make it  hard to stay on track with your nutrition.  One idea that we use when attending a gathering is to always bring at least one dish that you know is healthy so you have something to munch on and at the same time introduce that healthy food can still taste “good” to your friends and family.  Here are a few side dishes that my family has enjoyed this summer!

 

Sweet Potato & Egg Dill Salad

Ingredients:

  • 5 Sweet potatoes
  • 1 dozen Eggs
  • 1/2C MCT Oil or Olive Oil
  • 1Tb Dill (Preferably fresh)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Boil your eggs (12 min) and sweet potatoes (15 min) until cooked.
  2. Once boiled, soak eggs and sweet potatoes in cold water to cool down enough to handle them.
  3. Dice up sweet potatoes into 1/2″ cubes and toss into large mixing bowl.
  4. Peel eggs and dice, add to mixing bowl.
  5. Add MCT Oil, Dill and Salt and Pepper to bowl and mix all ingredients.  Put in fridge to chill and serve cold. Enjoy!

Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cucumbers
  • 1 Sweet Onion
  • 4 Tb Olive Oil
  • 4 Tb White Vinegar
  • 4 Tb Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 C Fresh Dill
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Slice cucumbers & onion very thin and toss into mixing bowl.
  2. Combine Olive Oil, Lemon juice and Vinegar into bowl and mix with cucumbers & onions
  3. Finish by adding dill and S&P to taste.  Serve cold.
  4. This dish gets better as it marinades.  I recommend making it 24 hours in advance.  Enjoy!

 

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Chicken & Broccoli

Sometimes you make  meal that is labeled “a keeper!”  This was one of them in my house!  Super easy to make in a large batch to have plenty of leftovers to put away for lunches during the week or dinner on a night you get home late.

Chicken & Broccoli 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Package Chicken Thighs or Boneless Chicken Breast
  • 2 Heads Broccoli
  • 1 Large White Onion
  • 2 TB Minced Garlic
  • 2 TB Chopped Basil (fresh would be best)
  • 2 TB Ghee or Olive Oil
  • 3 Sweet Potatoes (baked for 15 min in advance)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop your sweet potato into 1/2″ cubes and bake in advance for about 15 min @ 350.
  2. Dice your onion into small pieces and toss into sautee pan with ghee or olive oil
  3. Cut chicken into 1″ pieces and add to pan with along with garlic & basil.   Allow to cook for about 5 minutes
  4. Chop your broccoli and add to pan.  Cook for about 5 minutes
  5. Finish by mixing in your sweet potatoes and letting it simmer for a few minutes just enough for the potatoes to get warm.
  6. Add S&P to taste.

Makes 4-6 servings

chicken and broccoli

Enjoy!

 Nutrition Information: (1/6th serving) 285 Calories, 14g Fat, 22g Protein, 22g Carbs

 

Food Prep

Through experience of trial and error, I have learned that  in order to choose healthy meal and snack options throughout the week, food prep is KEY!  Choose one day a week such as Sunday and designate 1-2 hours towards preparing your food for the week ahead.  Here’s a snap shot of how I prepare breakfast and lunches for my husband and I for the week.

meal prep

STEP 1: Sit down and decide what you want to eat for the week and write it down.  Make a trip to the grocery store with your LIST.  The list is extremely important for multiple reasons:

  1. It keeps you away from items that are less healthy
  2. It keeps the budget tighter than browsing through the isles
  3. It makes shopping quick and painless

STEP 2: Unpack your grocery bags and keep everything on the counter.   This will force you to prep your meals immediately.  Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees, this is an average temperature that is good to cook multiple dishes at.

STEP 3: Rate your meals in order by which item on your list takes the longest to cook and work backwards.

For me,  sweet potatoes are the first on the list.  I dice up about 5-6 sweet potatoes into small cubes and toss them in 3 TB coconut oil, onion & garlic powder, salt & pepper.  Spread onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

*TIP: lining baking sheets with parchment paper cuts down on the clean up time!

Next up is my Crust less Quiche.  I dice up my veggies of choice for the week (this week was red peppers, zucchini, scallions & chives) and place in a bowl.  Crack 1 dozen eggs in the bowl and mix.  Pour into a 13×9 greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

While your items are in the oven, use the remaining time to finish up stove top items or prepping fresh fruits and veggies.  This week, for lunches I chose grass-fed lean beef burgers and sautéed kale to for lunches.  I cooked the burgers stove stop and added some steak seasoning.  These took about 8 minutes total to cook.  I then diced up my kale into about 1″ cubes and sautéed in a pan with olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper and lemon juice.

I also prepped the remaining veggies I had such as peppers and asparagus by washing and cutting them up so they were ready to use for dinners.

By the time the stove top items and veggie prep were complete, my oven dishes were finished.  I portioned everything out into Tupperware containers for Nick and I and stacked them in the fridge so they are ready to grab and go.  He has the left side and I have the right side so we know who’s is who’s.

From start to finish, this doesn’t need to take more than 1-2 hours and it lines up the rest of your week to be successful!

Breakfast

Breakfast

Lunches

Lunches

 

Understand the WHYs…and keeping it simple

As I take on the 30 day challenge, it is important to understand the WHYs.  Many people will ask me WHY am I  removing Grains, Dairy or Legumes. Take a few minutes to read through the following links and post any questions below. Happy Reading!

http://whole9life.com/2013/02/grain-manifesto/

http://whole9life.com/2013/03/the-dairy-manifesto/

http://whole9life.com/2012/09/the-legume-manifesto/

why

It can feel overwhelming to always be finding creative ways to eat healthy.  Keep in mind, it doesn’t always have to be fancy!  Sometimes the best way to stay on track is to Keep It Simple Silly!

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Last night’s dinner was quick and easy!

  • Boneless chicken breast marinated in olive oil and Stonemill Steak Seasoning
  • Asparagus and Onions tossed in Balsamic Vinegar, salt & pepper

Grilled for 20 minutes on medium heat.  Mustard is a good “dipping sauce” for this dish since my husband always needs to dip his chicken in something!

This is a great opportunity to cook extra for leftovers to use for lunches or dinner on a night you work late. Enjoy!

asparaguschicken

Whole 30

On Monday, I am joining about 25 members of our gym on a 30 Day Nutrition Challenge called the Whole 30.  This will be my 3rd time doing this challenge since November.  In that time,  I have learned a lot about nutrition and more importantly, how my body responds to food.

Here is the basis of the challenge:

whole-30

The WHY’s: (Best explained by Whole30.com)

“Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it.

Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent?  Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury?  Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff.

So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you? Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health.”

fuel good feel good

Below is a list I created after my first Whole 30 of the positive changes eating this way made to my life:

1. There is sugar in everything! Even organic meats such as chicken sausage and bacon. I have totally eliminated sugar from my diet and feel amazing!
2. I sleep better and feel well rested.
3. My skin & nails are super healthy.
4. My favorite part of the day is prepping meals with my husband- we really work well together and it’s good QT!
5. I don’t look forward to going out to eat as much because I know I can make a much better meal for myself at home- double win here because we have saved $$.
6. Holidays are just as enjoyable without indulging- our families were very accommodating to including meals we could eat and everyone loved all the dishes!
7. Having structure in our nutrition has brought structure in other areas in our lives such as balancing work/play, being more disciplined with our time and drinking more water!
8. We removed coffee as well and were able to give up our caffeine addiction.
9. I loved the book “it starts with food.” It was very eye opening and had great reasonings about how our bodies respond to certain foods, this has changed my mind on a lot of foods I will not be introducing back into my meals.
10. I lost 10# in 30 days without limiting my quantity, weighing or measuring- just by simply eating whole foods from their natural state.

what doesnt kill me

If you are interested in making a positive change in your nutrition, I would love for you to join myself and other members of EXP on this 30 day journey.  

Here’s what to do next:

  • Join our Facebook Event to benefit from the daily recipes and support from fellow members!
  • PURGE “non compliant” foods from your cabinets and fridge.
  • Choose a day for food prep, (we like Sundays). Go shopping and stock your fridge. Here a quick video on food prep. Extra tupperware and ziploc bags come in handy!
  • Stay connected– Post your questions and any challenges you face along the way to the group so we can help you through it!
  • Continue to follow my blog!  I will be sharing my favorite recipes and meal ideas right here!

To learn more about the Whole 30 program, visit their website www.Whole30.com and read the book “It Starts with Food” by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig

It+Starts+with+Food

Did you eat your greens today?

I’m always looking for new ways to add more green vegetables to my daily diet.  Breakfast is a meal that I can usually get fit good amount of veggies into.  I typically stick with omelets and have been on a broccoli and mushroom kick.  Earlier this week, I branched out from the ordinary and came up with this great combination.  It filled my “greens” requirement for the first meal of the day and had great flavors from the peaches and cinnamon.  Best part, it only took 5 minutes to cook!  You’ll have to give it a try and let me know what you think!

Spinach and Peach Scramble

spinach and peach scramble

Ingredients:

2 Eggs (or 4 Egg whites)

1c Peaches (I used frozen but fresh would be even better!)

2 large handfuls Spinach

2 Tb unsweetened coconut flakes

1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking oil such as olive oil or coconut oil

Start by adding your eggs to the pan.  Next, cut your peaches into bite size pieces and add them to the pan along with the coconut flakes.  Take 2 large handfuls of spinach and put right on top of the eggs & peaches.  Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the spinach.  As the spinach begins to wilt, slowly start to fold into eggs.  Let cook until all spinach has wilted down and eggs are fully cooked.

Enjoy!

spinach health benefits

Chicken Drumsticks with Carrot and Cabbage Pancakes

During our Whole 30 challenge last month, I found that I appreciated staying in and cooking a great meal that we could enjoy knowing exactly how it was made and what the ingredients were was a much more pleasant experience than going out to eat and worrying what our food was going to be cooked in, etc.  I came up with this combination and it was a HUGE hit!  The pancakes were my husbands absolute favorite and reminded us of Chinese egg foo young.  The drumsticks paired nicely with the homemade BBQ sauce I had made earlier in the week.  Both were extremely easy and amazingly yummy!

Enjoy!

Chicken Drumsticks

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil or clarified butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 10 free range, organic chicken drumsticks

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper as well as the coconut oil or clarified butter. Dump in the chicken and mix well to ensure all the meat is evenly coated with the seasonings.
  3. Place the chicken drumsticks on a large baking sheet with space in between each to prevent overlap. Cook for about 1 hour, until the chicken is well cooked, turning the pieces once during the cooking process.

courtesy of PaleoLeap.com

Carrot & Cabbage Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 sweet onion finely chopped
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut flour
  • Coconut oil, for frying

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl combine carrots, cabbage, onions and eggs. Stir salt and coconut flour into carrot mixture.
  2. In a large skillet heat coconut oil. Scoop large tablespoonfuls of batter onto skillet.
  3. Fry patties on each side over medium heat until browned and crispy.
  4. Transfer pancakes to a paper towel lined plate.
  5. Repeat process until all of the batter is used up.

Modified from TheDailyMeal.com

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Nothing like homemade soup

Growing up, there was nothing I enjoyed more in the fall and winter months than my grandmother and mother’s homemade soups! My mom always made soup as a way to use up holiday leftovers or extra veggies and chicken at the end of the week. I have followed in their footsteps to do the same. I enjoy scrounging through my veggie drawers at the end if the week to see what I can toss into a pot for a warm, hearty soup.

I have always opted to make broth based soups but wanted to try something new, so experimented with a tomato base. It was delicious and made great lunches for us throughout the week!

Ingredients:
2 sweet potatoes
1 bag organic peas
1 head of celery
3 yellow onions
4 cloves garlic
2 red peppers
1lb cooked chicken or turkey
Olive oil
Handful of fresh basil
1 28oz can tomato purée
28oz water
Seasonings to taste: salt & pepper, onion powder, Italian seasoning

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Directions:
-Coat the bottom of your pot with olive oil. Dice up onions & celery and sauté for 10 minutes.

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– While onions & celery are cooking, chop up sweet potatoes and peppers.
– At the 10 min mark, add potatoes and peppers to pot and sauté for an additional 5 minutes.

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– Add tomato purée, water, pressed garlic & seasonings to the pot. Bring to a boil then lower to simmer for 30 minutes.

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– Finish by adding the peas, diced chicken & chopped basil to the pot.

Enjoy!

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10 minute Taco Night

Nick and I get home late from closing up the gym 3 night a week so I am always looking for quick recipes that I can toss together without much prep.  Mexican is usually an easy “go to” for this, ground turkey is a life saver in my book!  Last week we whipped up these awesome Tacos in 10 minutes flat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 head of Boston bib lettuce
  • 1/2 bag of mixed greens (or spinach)
  • jar of fresh salsa
  • package of organic guacamole (check your ingredients to make sure there’s no added sugar!)
  • seasonings: paprika, chili powder, salt & pepper to taste
  • coconut oil
Directions:
  • Dice up your onion and toss in a pan coated with coconut oil.
  • While your onions are cooking, shred your sweet potato, then toss in the pan.  Cook for 5 minutes with the onions.

tacos 3

  • While you are waiting for your sweet potato and onions to cook, cut the bottom off the head of lettuce and set the table with lettuce leaves, salsa and guacamole.
  •  Add the package of ground turkey & mixed greens to the pan and season with paprika, chili powder, salt & pepper to taste.  Cook for 5 minutes.

tacos 1

  • Serve right out the pan!  I enjoyed lining my lettuce leaf with a layer of guacamole, salsa, then the meat. Yum!

tacos 2