Do you ever find yourself saying “I don’t have time to make food I just need something quick, now”. You are not alone. Moms today are busier than ever balancing careers and everyone’s activity filled schedules. I know more than one girlfriend who is the only person cooking for her household (I also know many dads who cook too, but if that’s not you I felt you deserved some recognition and some help). Solutions are needed, especially if you have any athletes to nourish. Athletes need balanced, well-timed food solutions. So, to help out the athletic family, here are some quick solutions to 4 common scenarios:
Scenario 1: The Early Morning Practice
If waking up 3 to 4 hours before practice to eat a full meal is not a reality then tanking up the night before is the next best thing. Encourage your child to eat a snack before bed. I often suggest a bowl of cereal and milk. Look for low sugar cereals that contain less than 8 grams of sugar per 50 gram serving. The cereal provides some of the energy your child will burn through the next day, and the milk provides a source of protein to contribute to muscle growth and repair.
Scenario 2: The 7 O’Clock Weeknight Game
Unless your child eats supper at 4 in the afternoon, there is simply not enough time to digest a complete meal. The solution is to split the supper meal in 2 and eat the high carbohydrate part of the meal first. Save the higher fat and higher fibre foods for after the game. This way your young athlete will have enough energy for their game, but they won’t be stuck digesting when they are trying to perform. Fat is usually found in dressings and in protein rich foods and fibre is usually found in the veggies. My go-to quick weeknight game meal is pasta and marinara sauce 2 hours before the game and a chicken breast chopped into a salad (a healthy version of a cesar salad) after the game.
Scenario 3: The 2 Game in a Day Weekend Tournament
When there is no time to make food then bring some to the venue. I often recommend that athletes drink shakes when there is not a lot of time to digest a meal in between athletic events. These days it is getting easier to make very nutritious on-the-go shakes without bringing along a blender. More than one company sells ready to drink real fruit smoothies in tetra-packaging. By combining one of the fruit smoothies with skim milk powder you get a balanced shake to drink in between games. Skim milk powder stores in a sports bag extremely well. So get one or two small packs of skim milk powder for any time a glass of milk or a quick shake will give your child a nutrition edge.
Scenario 4: The Overtired, Hungry Chauffeur (a.k.a the parent)
Oh yes, do not forget about yourselves parents! When you are too hungry to think straight you end up making poor nutrition decisions for your whole family. I have two solutions for you: quick oatmeal packets (the low sugar variety) and herbal tisanes such as ginger or mint. All you will need is a good mug and hot water to have these two options anywhere. The oats will sustain you as they are packed with good energy and heart healthy fibre. The tisanes will stimulate you without the negative effects of caffeine.
For more tips, watch my segment on Feeding a Hockey Family, aired on Global on December 2013.
Do you have more quick solutions to add to the list? Share them with us!