As much as we don’t like it, baseball families unfortunately have to eat a lot of meals and snacks ‘on the go’ during baseball season. Whether we’re shuttling the kids from school to practice, or from one kid’s game to the other’s, we eat a lot of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks in the car or at the ball field.
Giving your athletes healthy options for meals and snacks is a great opportunity to teach them how to fuel themselves properly for sports.
Healthy Snack Combinations
Pairing a lean protein with a complex carbohydrate, plus a small amount of healthy fat, is my go-to combination for healthy meals and snacks that are portable, easy to digest, and (most important to my kids) – tasty!
Our go-to snacks and meals for busy nights and weekends include some of the following combinations of lean protein + complex carbohydrate + healthy fat:
- guacamole + whole grain tortilla chips + a cheese stick
- fruit + whole grain cracker + yogurt
- smoothies made of fruit + yogurt + nut butter
- quesadillas made with whole grain tortillas + cheese + guacamole
- oatmeal + nut butter + yogurt
For more ideas of Healthy Snacks for Athletes, download our list of 20 Healthy Pre-Game Snacks for Athletes here!
Here are some of my must-haves for ‘on the go’ meals that make it easy to bring healthy snacks and meals for your athletes.
Smoothies and Protein Shakes
Smoothies are a favorite in our house for after school snacks before practice and easy breakfasts before morning games. Especially with early morning games in June and July, my kids usually aren’t in the mood for a hot meal like eggs or oatmeal when it’s already in the 80’s by 9 am. A cold smoothie can be packed with nutrients from berries and other fruits, veggies (spinach is a favorite, and surprisingly well tolerated), milk (almond, coconut or regular), protein powder or yogurt, and a healthy fat like nut butter or coconut manna. It’s the perfect on the go combination of protein + complex carbs + fat for a growing athlete.
The Ninja Personal Blender for Shakes, Smoothies, Food Prep, and Frozen Blending with 700-Watt Base and (2) 16-Ounce Cups with Spout Lids is a must have for smoothie-loving sports families. What I love about is you can prep your ingredients in advance, store in the fridge, then whirl everything together on the blender a minute before you walk out the door. The set includes two 16 oz cups with to-go lids.
Hot and Cold Foods on the Go
A thermos is a must-have for foods that you want to keep hot or cold for longer periods of time. This 16 ounce jar keeps food hot up to 7 hours, or cold up to 9 hours. We use our Thermos containers for hot oatmeal, soups and chilis, and even chicken nuggets. It’s also excellent for cold foods like yogurt and salads.
Tip: To prepare your thermos for hot foods, fill the container with boiling water. Put the lid on and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, or longer. Your food must be hot before putting it in the container. When you’re ready to pack the food, empty the Thermos of the boiling water, then put in the hot food.
For cold foods, fill the Thermos with ice water. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, or longer. When you’re ready to pack the food, empty the Thermos of the ice water, then put in your cold food.
On the Go Meal Must-Haves
Meal prepping is a great idea when you know dinner is going to be on the road, or at the ball field. Some of my favorite make ahead meals include Pasta Salads (packed with cut up cheese, ham, turkey or chicken, plus veggies and beans) and tortilla roll up sandwiches using lean proteins like rotisserie chicken or thin sliced deli turkey and ham.
These containers have become my go-to when meal prepping for the week, as they stack easily in the fridge, freezer or cooler, seal tightly and don’t leak, are microwavable, and can be frozen. These containers can be reused again and again, and are dishwasher safe. They’re also cheap enough that if one of my kids ‘accidentally’ leaves the container behind at the ball field or throws out the container accidentally, it’s not a big deal.
Along the same lines of packing things that are ‘not a big deal’ if we lose them, I always keep a box of compostable cutlery in my cooler or car. This cutlery is made from corn, not plastic, but it can be rewashed and reused over and over again. If it’s lost or thrown out accidentally? No big deal!
This cooler easily holds the meal prep containers, as well as cutlery, napkins, and other healthy snacks and drinks, and is perfect for those weeknight on-the-go meals. More portable than your game cooler, it’s insulated to keep your athlete’s food warm or cool for up to 5 hours.
Dining in the car is a necessary evil of any travel sport. Whether you’re driving your kid from school to practice or a game, or even to another sport altogether, you can still have a healthy meal or snack for your athlete, even on the go.
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