How to Feed Your College Athlete on Thanksgiving Break
When your athlete comes home for school breaks, it may seem like they eat you out of house and home. Young athletes have fast metabolism and need food to fuel their performance, especially if they continue to work out over school breaks. A healthy diet not only keeps their energy up, it can help them recover faster after workouts.
This Thanksgiving, you can prepare your household for your athlete’s homecoming by stocking on healthy foods. The sports dietitians at Bon Secours In Motion Sports Performance recommend these foods:
Your student athlete may need to snack two to four times throughout the day, especially after a workout. It’s important that snacks have the right balance of protein and carbohydrates to replenish energy and help build muscle. You may choose snacks like:
- Low-fat chocolate milk
- Mixed nuts or trail mix with plenty of nuts
- Peanut butter
- String cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Protein bars
Luckily, your turkey leftovers can also do double-duty as a post-workout sandwich.
Again, the Thanksgiving turkey is a perfect fit for your student athlete’s diet. But having a variety of lean protein sources is also important. Many athletes have to keep their protein intake high so need to eat foods like:
- Chicken breasts
- Lean cuts of beef
These foods have some of the highest levels of protein per gram, helping your athlete meet their nutrition goals.
Fruits and Vegetables
Some studies show that student athletes end up eating fewer fruits and vegetables than they need, making them deficient in important vitamins and nutrients. Encourage your student athlete to combine plants and protein with foods like:
- An apple and peanut butter
- Hummus and vegetables
- Broccoli and cheese
- A veggie omelet
- Soups packed with meat and vegetables
These combination snacks help check a lot of boxes for your athlete’s day.
The Right Fats and Carbs
Student athletes don’t exist on protein alone; they also need a good balance of fats and carbohydrates. While loading up on mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving may not be a big deal, eating starches and simple carbohydrates regularly is not the best idea for a good game.
Instead, make sure your home is full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. When it comes to fat, use canola or olive oil when possible instead of butter. Also offer a variety of healthy fat sources like avocados, tuna, nuts, and salmon.
When in doubt about what to buy for Thanksgiving, you can always ask your student athlete about their favorite healthy foods. If your athlete needs help developing a healthy eating plan, contact Bon Secours In Motion Sports Performance. Our registered dietitians create personalized plans to fit your athlete’s sport, body type, and performance goals.