September 1, 2021
By Randee Ochinero
How many times have you heard this? Now that school is back in session, it’s vital to stock foods your teen will actually eat that are also good for them. If you’re a busy parent looking for some grab-and-go options for teens, keep reading. (Or maybe you’re a coach looking for some quick snacks to keep in your bag for the times your athletes need a little boost.)
Knowing what exactly to buy for teen athletes can be difficult, especially when it seems they can eat you out of house and home. Here are my top 5 favorite items to help athletes make easy, good food choices to fuel their day.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are full of micronutrients the body needs. By having fresh fruits and vegetables in the house, it makes it easier for athletes to fuel their bodies properly with those necessary vitamins and minerals. You can buy pre-chopped/precut/trayed fruits and vegetables to save time but they can get pricey. Having travel packs that you purchase or create yourself is another way to make it accessible for your athletes. Grab and go is always a plus when you’re dealing with busy teens.
Eggs are such a versatile food that are quick and easy to make. Not only do they have a great ratio of protein to fat for athletes, they contain iron, vitamin d and other important vitamins. You can use them for breakfast foods like breakfast burritos or sandwiches that are great to freeze and heat up later or hard boil them for on the go snacks. For a quick meal, swirl raw eggs into hot chicken broth with a little sriracha for an egg drop soup.
Deli Meats & Cheeses
Deli meat & cheeses can get a bad rap due to the higher sodium content but they can still make great options to keep in the house for athletes. A few slices of turkey and cheese can easily go from a simple snack to a sandwich.
You can’t go wrong with having pre-packaged, shelf stable snacks. These are great for kids to keep in their bags, in their cars, in their lockers etc., for longer periods of time and can be a little extra boost they need before practices. Granola bars, jerky, rice krispy treats (our personal favorite around here), trail mix, and popcorn are some great options.
Milk (including chocolate)
Milk is such a great thing to keep handy because you can add it to other foods (cereal, oatmeal, eggs for crepes) but it also is a great recovery drink. This includes dairy and dairy free options. A glass of milk can give an athlete ¼ of the calcium they need for the day.
Bonus: Nut Butters & Dips
Don’t underestimate the appeal of having something to dip in. Fruits and veggies are great on their own, but they can taste better and offer up protein/fat options dipped in something. Stores have a ton of flavors of hummus now (including chocolate) and yogurt-based dressings that contain a little more nutrients than typical dips and dressings. And nut butters can be a great addition to any snacks or meals. They can be used as dips, on a sandwich, as a boost to a bowl of oatmeal or even put on some graham crackers. They provide fats to help keep kids satisfied while also giving them some protein and some nutrients.
It can be hard to cook the perfect meal or make sure decent food options are available AND that a teen will eat them. I totally get it. Having the foods above consistently available will help them get the nutrition they need to fuel their performance as a student-athlete.
Looking for more snack ideas? Grab my quick snack guide