Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Surviving Soccer Season & Eating Clean along the Way

I love soccer season, I really do!  It gets us all outside & spending Saturdays together on the side lines.  Our community soccerplex is in an amazing location where we have a gorgeous view of the Blue Ridge Mountains & the kids love that there are train tracks not far away & you can sometimes see a train roll past during games.  But now that we have 3 out of 4 kids in soccer, that often means spending some LONG hours at the fields on Saturdays.  Additionally, we have soccer practices 3 - 4 days during the week.  That means a lot of running around & a lot of evenings when we are short on time.

Here are some of my tips & recipes that help us fuel our bodies for best performance during these busy times.  You too can get through soccer (baseball, t-ball, soft ball, lacrosse...) season without depending on drive-thru meals or pasta 4 times a week!

PACK A COOLER!  For those long hours on the side lines be prepared with some healthy snacks to not only fuel your little kickers, but also to keep you satisfied & away from the greasy burgers at the concession stand!  Throw in healthy choices that will fuel the whole family, be easy to eat, and not be super messy...though I always recommend carrying a package of baby wipes & hubbies make messes, that's a fact, Jack!

-fresh fruit
-veggies & hummus
-sliced fruit & all-natural peanut butter or almond butter
-whole grain wraps with all-natural peanut butter & juice-sweetened fruit spread
-homemade protein bars

LOTS & LOTS OF WATER!!!  With all this running around you need to stay well-hydrated!  Fill up those water bottles & skip the sugar-filled sports drinks.  Need some flavor in your water?  Add a few slices of lemon, lime, or cucumber.  A few sprigs of mint leaves are also a tasty addition to plain water.

PLAN YOUR MEALS FOR THE WEEK!  Look at your weekly schedule & plan your meals accordingly.  If you know you have to be running from place to place on Tuesday, plan a portable dinner.  On Thursday you have guitar lessons & three soccer practices?  Plan an easy crock-pot meal that will be waiting for you when you get home.  

Here are a few of my favorite crock pot & easy to prepare ahead meals:

FOOD PREP!  This will take a little time on the front end, but it will save you loads of time in the long run.  When you get home from the grocery store, or one a day that is a little less hectic, take the time to prepare some of your food.  Wash & cut up fresh veggies & put into individual containers so they are just as easy to grab & go as some not-so-healthy chips or crackers.  Wash your fruit & cut up any items that need to be sliced (i.e. fresh pineapple, melons, etc.).
Do a little batch cooking of items you can use in recipes throughout the week.  Some items that I frequently batch cook:
-baked boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cut the breasts in half to adhere to proper portion size! (I use some for dinners & put one on my lunch salads almost every day.)
-hard boiled eggs
-protein bars
-quinoa (a high-protein seed that can be used like a grain...very versatile and delicious)

Here is to a happy, healthy spring sports season!!

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