Your Eating Plan When Taking the Summer Off Athletics

Taking the summer off sports is not necessarily a negative. Being year-round competitive can take its toll on you mentally and physically. When you can regain balance in your life, you will be more motivated and driven to compete when the season begins again. Make sure you are remaining active and aren't glued to the couch this summer! Do actives that get you out of the house, and are different from your competitive sport. Most important, you must learn how to adopt a way of life that is positive around the food you eat. You may be on break from the intensive sport realm, but it doesn't mean you should take a break from eating healthy. Whether you want to stay on a healthy track, or need a strategy for learning how to eat healthy for sport and life, these tips are for you!

Plan ahead to make meals simple at home

Start creating a running list of meals you'd like to try. You need the staples: yellow onion, garlic, bell pepper, tomatoes, canned tomatoes (low sodium and ideally in a BPA free can), uncooked brown rice, uncooked quinoa, herbs, salt and pepper, and lean meats or meat substitutes. When you always have these items in your grocery cart, you can start just about any recipe. From this jumping off point, you have the availability to add in the extras needed for meals you'd like to try. I suggest meals that make it easy to make larger amounts, so you can practice meal prepping. 

Favorite meal prep dinners:

stuffed bell peppers

pan seared chicken, roasted vegetables, and quinoa

turkey chili or turkey meatballs

butternut squash curry, roasted vegetables, and brown rice 

Stock up on healthy snacks

Lets face it, you're going to eat snacks whether you like to admit it or not. You might as well have healthy ones ready at hand! Keep lots of fruit like apples, bananas, berries, and tangerines. Peanut butter with low sodium, low sugar, and high in protein can be added to just about any snack to keep you fuller longer. Hummus and carrots, nuts (my favorite are cashews!), trail mix, dried fruit, and meal replacement bars are really easy to take to go. Make sure every time you leave the house you always have a snack with you. This will help curb the afternoon energy crash, and prevent the creeping thoughts junk food. Ice cream, candy, fries, and salty snacks that you can buy when you're out running errands, shopping, or with friends are too convenient and too temping. This doesn't mean you can't treat yourself every once in a while! But consistency is key, and you want to be able to choose the times you splurge, rather than be forced to buy treats because you are starving!

Favorite snacks to go:

Clif Bars

cashews and dates

peanut butter, honey, and banana sandwich on organic whole wheat bread high in protein and low in sugar

apples and tangerines

Know what to order when going out

When I go out to eat with friends, family, or for work, I always look at the menu ahead of time. Not only does this get me excited about the meal because I'm a major foodie, but it gives me a chance to see if I need to customize a dish to fit my needs. For many, going out to eat means splurging. However in today's society, we eat out much more often than we ever did in the past. This means going out to eat cannot be seen as a splurge each time, and summer could mean even more opportunities for eating out. Especially if you're taking the summer off of athletics, you need to have a game plan. I stick to plate modeling, and look for dishes that consist of a lean protein, healthy carbohydrate, and have plenty of vegetables. Where do I find this on a restaurant menu? In the rice bowls or in the lean protein offerings. I will typically ask if they can add roasted or grilled vegetables to each dish. While training is low or non-existent, it is important that at almost half of your calories at lunch and dinner are coming from vegetables. 

Favorite meals choices going out:

brown rice bowls with plenty of vegetables

curries with vegetables, lean meat, and rice

turkey and avacado sandwiches, add extra vegetables (splurge with fries or potato chips)

Realistic summer meal breakdown

Breakfast:

oatmeal or plain greek yogurt with berries and honey or organic maple syrup 

organic whole wheat bread high in protein and low in sugar with peanut butter

Out to eat lunch:

Roasted brussel sprouts appetizer (shared with family or friends)

1/2 chicken salad sandwich and tomato soup 

Afternoon snack:

apple and peanut butter 

Dinner:

Grilled chicken, roasted asparagus, and mashed sweet potatoes with salt and peper