Recipes: Quick Meals For Busy Athletes

Planning and preparing meals ahead of time may seem like a good idea, but it can become overwhelming once the semester begins and you have a busy training schedule and frequent travels for competitions. However, athletes can successfully manage meal planning on a budget with minimal stress by following a step-by-step approach. Another benefit is that instead of trying to do everything all at once, you can set weekly goals and work through them progressively.

Before your semester starts, it is most effective to first stock up on the basics. However, if you are currently in the middle of your semester, this can still be your objective for the week. After acquiring confidence in your basics, you can then proceed to create a plan. For individuals, having a plan may be sufficient. However, for others, preparing on a rest day can contribute to feeling self-assured when facing a hectic week, as it ensures that you will have the necessary energy and nutrients to adequately fuel both your body and brain.

Step 1: Stock Up On The Basics

Containers for storing food.

Before beginning meal prepping, it is important to ensure that you possess an adequate quantity of food storage containers in various sizes. While any kind of container will suffice, it should be noted that heating plastic containers can cause chemicals to seep into the food. This is not a significant concern if it occurs rarely, such as with takeout containers, but if possible, it is preferable to use glass containers.

If you plan on bringing your food with you on campus for athlete meal prep, it might be a good idea to purchase a sealable lunch container or a lunch box that can accommodate your storage containers. Although the containers mentioned are excellent for fridge storage, they may not be suitable for your specific needs.

Appliances and cooking utensils

Investing in numerous cooking appliances can become costly, especially if you live in an apartment or share a kitchen with roommates, resulting in limited space. Nevertheless, there are essential kitchen items necessary for efficient meal prepping. The Magic Bullet is a compact and reasonably priced blender that is ideal for making smoothies and can also be utilized for creating sauces and dips. Additionally, slow cookers can be purchased at a reasonable cost and greatly assist in simplifying your life while reducing meal preparation time.

Spices are to be considered by thinking methodically and sequentially without incorporating additional details or eliminating any existing information.

After that, make sure to review your collection of spices. The aforementioned essential spices will be frequently used in numerous recipes within our upcoming meal preparation guide: garlic powder, paprika, oregano, chilli powder, salt, and pepper. Additionally, do not forget to incorporate any spices from traditional dishes that you have savoured during your time at home.

If you have a local Trader Joe’s or Aldi, you will find that they offer spices at better prices compared to regular grocery stores. Dollar Tree is a good alternative for affordable spices. Moreover, most Sprout’s and Whole Foods stores have a bulk section where you can buy spices in the quantity you need, which is a great way to save money on less frequently used spices.

Grains are to be rephrased while preserving the original meaning, without adding or removing any information. —- Grains are edible seeds produced by grassy plants. They are used as a food source for humans and animals. Common types of grains include wheat, rice, corn, barley, and oats. Grains can be ground into flour to make bread, pasta, and other baked goods. They are also an important component in various dishes and cuisines worldwide. Additionally, grains can be used as animal feed and serve as the main source of energy for livestock.

Although purchasing grains in bulk may initially require a higher upfront cost, it ultimately leads to long-term savings. Warehouse chains such as Costco and BJs typically offer a diverse range of bulk grains, while Asian grocery stores commonly sell rice in bags weighing between 10-20 pounds. For those who prefer dry rice, opting for a long-grain option like Basmati is recommended, while individuals who prefer more moist rice may enjoy a medium-grain variety such as Calrose.

Proteins that can be stored on the shelf

To have convenient sources of protein whenever necessary, it is advisable to also have shelf-stable protein options stocked in your pantry. It is worth noting that a variety of these items can be purchased in bulk at warehouse chains.

  • Canned tuna and canned salmon are both terrific sources of protein that also happen to be rich in healthy omega-3 fats, which are associated with benefits in immune function, brain development, and heart health. Many brands also sell tuna and salmon in self-stable pouches, which is perfect for when you’re on the go. 
  • Dry or canned beans and lentils are a great source of shelf-stable plant protein as well as fibre and iron. These will come in handy in soups, tacos, and more!
  • Legume-based pasta such as Banza, Explore Cuisine Edamame Spaghetti, and black bean or lentil noodles are another plant-based protein to keep on hand for fast meals.
  • A high-quality protein powder, such as whey or pea protein, is another great way to supplement your protein intake. These can easily be added to homemade energy bites, bars, or smoothies.

Step 2: Make a Plan

Prioritizing Your Preparation

When meal planning for the week, it is important to consider incorporating snack options. It is recommended to approach meal prep strategically by focusing on the meals that are most challenging to prepare for. Trying to meal prep for all three meals every day of the week can be overwhelming, so it is advised to identify the times when it is most difficult to find something to eat and concentrate on preparing for those specific meals. As you plan, you may find it helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are there certain nights of the week you know you’ll be home later and will have less time to make dinner? 
  • At what points in your day do you feel fitting in time to make food is most difficult? 
  • If you have morning workouts, how much time do you have to prepare and eat food afterwards? Do you find yourself rushing to get showered and out the door to school or work? 
  • When are you more likely to head to a dining hall with a teammate? Don’t plan for those days so that you don’t waste food.

Coordinating with roommates involves thinking step by step.

If you live with roommates who are willing to collaborate on meal planning, consider choosing a specific night each week for each roommate to cook dinner for everyone. This will not only save time for everyone but also bring variety to your meals and give you a break from cooking or meal preparation on certain nights. Additionally, if your roommates are interested, you can also do weekly ingredient preparation together by increasing the quantity and dividing the tasks, which will further lighten the workload for everyone.

Organizing and constructing your plan promptly

After identifying the meals or ingredients that you want to prep in advance, it is recommended to also plan some simple meals that can be quickly prepared on the day itself. Then, create a schedule for your meals, specifying whether a certain meal will be prepped in advance or cooked on the night itself. On the nights when you plan to cook, consider making double portions so that you have lunch or dinner for the following day. If the recipe is large, you can freeze some of it or use it for multiple meals in the upcoming days. While you don’t need to plan out your snacks for each day, creating a list of options that you want to have available throughout the week can be helpful. If you prefer planning meals but don’t want to prep in advance, keeping a chalkboard or whiteboard in the kitchen will allow you to review your menu for the week.

Step 3: Shop & Prep

Create a comprehensive shopping list for your meal plan and snacks. Afterwards, allocate time for both grocery shopping and meal preparation. If you’re not involved in any competitions that require travel, Sundays serve as an excellent day for meal prep to ensure you are prepared for the upcoming week. However, if you have plans to travel during the weekend, consider doubling some recipes the week prior and storing portions in the freezer to have meals and snacks ready upon your return.

When preparing your meal, consider the cooking times for each item. Start with the items that take the longest to cook, such as baking potatoes. These can be placed in the oven first as they require a high temperature and up to an hour to cook. While the potatoes are baking, you can work on other tasks such as chopping and roasting vegetables. During the last 20 minutes of the potato’s baking time, you can also make muffin batter, cook rice or quinoa on the stove, marinate chicken breasts, and chop more vegetables.

After making all the necessary preparations, package the items in containers suitable for refrigeration and freezing. By doing so, you will be well-prepared to provide energy for a productive week of both training and studying.

Quick Meals For Busy Athletes

Busy Athletes: Quick And Balanced Breakfasts

If you are in a rush during the morning, you will find it beneficial to be able to make your breakfast in under 10 minutes. To save time, here are three well-balanced breakfast recipes. The preparation process is quite simple, as you just need to combine all the ingredients listed in a large bowl.

  • 1 bowl of oatmeal + cottage cheese + 1 orange + dark chocolate chips.
  • 1 bowl of muesli + 1 yoghurt + 1 banana + 1 handful of raisins.
  • 1 bowl of oatmeal + soy juice + 1 kiwi + 1 handful of pine nuts.

To round out your breakfast, pair your bowl of cereal, which is high in energy and vitamins, with a hot beverage of your choosing.

Here’s our suggestion for rephrasing the text while maintaining the same meaning: We recommend thinking systematically, and breaking down the process step by step.

For a change, you can also opt for a smoothie bowl by blending together fresh fruit and a dairy or non-dairy drink, then topping it with seeds, cereals, and seasonal fruit pieces before indulging in it! This nutritious and widely favoured morning meal will supply you with vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, and vital fatty acids.

3 Quick Lunch Ideas For Athletes

During lunchtime, a sandwich is the fastest option to make. With the wide range of sandwich choices, you can easily plan different nutritious and fancy lunches. By including a healthy dessert, you can have a complete and balanced meal within 10 to 15 minutes, as long as you have all the necessary ingredients. The subsequent three speedy lunch recipes will assist you in finding ideas to create delicious meals.

  • Wholemeal bread sandwich with grilled chicken, cheddar, arugula, and cherry tomatoes + agave syrup in cottage cheese for dessert.
  • Wrap with pieces of turkey, mozzarella, and raw vegetables baked apples with slivered almonds for dessert.
  • Sliced salted muffins topped with salmon, avocado, and grapefruit + a quick dessert with matcha tea and coconut milk.

Here is our tip:

If you have a brief lunch break, it is advisable to prearrange your meals. Every week, compile a shopping list consisting of uncooked ingredients, lean meats, and seasonal vegetables. Additionally, indulge yourself by experimenting with various breads or side dishes. Subsequently, you can assemble your sandwich either in the morning or the night before and bring it with you to your workplace. Even if you are pressed for time, make sure to allocate sufficient time to enjoy your lunch.

Dinner: Quick Meals For Athletes In A Hurry

In the evening, the aim is to have a lighter meal that provides enough energy to the body while avoiding hunger and allowing for quick digestion to avoid disrupting sleep. To easily prepare the main course of your dinner, mix starchy food with vegetables and try different recipes. Finish off your meal with a light fruit dessert. Here are three quick meal ideas that take less than 20 minutes to make, and can be adjusted based on your preferences and the time of year:

  • Rice and fried vegetables with cumin + roasted banana with coconut.
  • Broccoli penne + strawberries and mint leaves.
  • Semolina with aubergine and basil leaves + pear with cinnamon.

To streamline meal preparation and save time, it’s advisable to incorporate batch cooking into your routine. By preparing all of your meals for the week at once, you ensure that you always have a nutritious and well-balanced meal readily available when hunger strikes. This approach significantly simplifies the washing, cutting, and cooking aspects of food preparation. As a successful athlete, simply include this enjoyable cooking session in your weekly workout schedule.

Here is our recommendation:

If you want to match your food intake with your energy levels, don’t hesitate to utilize a nutritional coaching app. With this app, you can track your body information, calculate the calories in your meals, and discover numerous flavorful recipe suggestions to diversify your food options.


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