NUTRITION FOR SOCCER PLAYERS: Soccer Players’ Fast Food Don’ts Part II
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FAST FOOD CAN LEAVE YOUR BODY STARVING FOR NUTRIENTS
In the previous article, we discussed the lack of quality in fast food meals, ingredients you might typically find, and potential health woes you may experience if eating a fast food diet often.
If you have to eat Fast Food – Make Better Choices
We all know that sometimes it’s inevitable —but when you stop at a fast food place, make a conscious effort to choose the lesser evil.
Ask for extra veggies, even if it is just tomatoes, pickles, lettuce and onions on a burger.
Opt for grilled chicken when available. Several places now have decent salads to choose from or try a yogurt parfait.
Ask for no bun on your double cheeseburger (or toss the bun or at least half of it as it’s just empty calories). Some places will do a “lettuce wrap” instead of a bun
Although there is no magic formula, there are options to either eat healthier fast food, find alternatives, or ways to avoid the scenario altogether.
“Proper planning and preparation prevent poor performance.” ― Stephen
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” ― Alan Lakein, author
The quotes all have the same meaning.
The most definitive way you can prevent yourself and your family from stopping for fast food time after time is to plan ahead. A little work on the forefront and some extra minutes in the kitchen can save you time, money, and your health in the long run.
Although initially, you may think this is going to be another task on your to-do list and that you currently don’t see where you will be able to fit in anything else on that list, everyone can find five minutes in the day.
Maybe it’s during commercial breaks of your
To Start: Look at the week ahead — what sporting events are scheduled?
By simply thinking ahead and planning out a few meals, you will actually feel empowered and in time, make the chaos feel less chaotic. The more you do it, the easier it becomes a habit.
Getting the kids involved in the planning is a great way to teach them this lifelong skill. Planning teaches them how to set strategies, prioritize actions and accomplish goals. It also shows them that health, through proper eating choices, is a priority. This can build their confidence overall.
If you have to stop for a quick bite on the road, here are a few examples of specific options you could try at popular fast food joints:
McDonalds-Artisan Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich and Wrap, Salads with Newman’s Own Dressings, Snack Wraps, Happy Meal with apples, Fruit’n’Yogurt Parfait
Wendy’s-Baked Potato, Chili, Asian Cashew Chicken Salad, Grilled Chicken Wrap/Side Salad, Ultimate Chicken Grill
Subway-Turn any sandwich into a salad, Roasted Chicken Sub, B-fast Egg & Cheese Sandwich, Veggie Delight Sub, Sweet Chicken Teriyaki Sub, Grilled Chicken Salad, Tuna Salad Sub, and Turkey Sub
Steak’n’Shake-Chipotle Steakburger Shooter, Garden Salad, Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Potato & Egg Tacos, Single Steakburger, 3 Chicken Fingers w/ Applesauce, Grilled Chicken Salad
Taco Del Mar-Chicken Burrito, Baja Style dishes…fish and chicken with whole wheat tortilla
Taco Bell-Mini Skillet Bowl
Healthier alternatives to typical fast food joints:
Several fast food places are working on healthier options to have available as well as increasing the quality of their food.
Here are a few examples of things you could choose when looking for alternatives to traditional fast food:
Places like Protein House, Eat Fit Go, True Food Kitchen, Evolve Paleo, Zoe’s Kitchen, and Whole Foods market all have healthier options than your typical fast food locations. Some even have meal prep options so that you have those grab and go meals waiting for you.
Starbucks’ Spinach & Feta B-fast Wrap, Classic Whole-grain Oatmeal, Egg-white & Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites, Hearty Veggie & Brown Rice Salad Bowl, Zesty Chicken and Black Bean Salad Bowl
Noodles & Company-Whole-grain Linguine, Japanese Pan Noodles with Broccoli, Small Bangkok Curry Bowl
Au Bon Pain-Small Plates menu and Soups such as Jamaican Black Bean to Fire Roasted Exotic Grains and Vegetables.
Chipotle-Bowls with protein (chicken/beans), brown rice, fajita veggies (ask for extra), guacamole, and salsas with extra lettuce…hold the sour cream and cheese or ask for little
Panera’s Soups (black bean or garden vegetable) and Salads, Power Chicken Hummus Bowl, Sandwiches (turkey and artichoke or avocado egg white & spinach b-fast power sandwich), Smoothies … choose apple as your side
Jason’s Deli-Salad Bar or Nutty Mixed Up Salad, Build a Sandwich on an Organic Whole Wheat Wrap, Reduced Sizes of Baked/Loaded Potatoes
Atlanta Bread-Salsa Fresca Salmon Salad, Sandwiches, Hearty Soups, and muffin tops
Great Nutrition for Soccer Players – Fast Meals Made at H
You cannot get any easier than buying a rotisserie chicken and a bagged salad. The variety that you can create within this simple meal is endless. Veggies, avocado, fruits, boiled eggs, nuts and seeds on the salad, sauces for the chicken, etc.
A healthier option for soccer players of all ages
Speaking of rotisserie chickens, these are extremely versatile as well. I do recommend purchasing one from a health food store such as Sprouts or Whole Foods for better quality chicken. Pick the chicken and use for chicken tacos, nachos, tostadas, homemade pizza, or a simple enchilada dish.
All of these meals can be made healthy by using Siete tortillas, rinsed and drained black beans, tomatoes, lettuce or cabbage mix, salsas, peppers (jalapeno or fresh bell peppers), Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, cilantro, black olives, onions or green onions.
Make a “toppings buffet” and let people dress a simple chicken taco the way they prefer or buy pre-made cauliflower crusts and allow kids to make their own pizzas.
For additional complex carbs, throw in a side of wild or brown rice. Make it
Using grass-fed ground beef is a simple taco meal as well. Try a taco pizza!
Pre-made soups such as Pacific brand soups can be made into a meal. Add leftover veggies from the fridge or whatever frozen veggies you have in the freezer.
Make baked potatoes or sweet potatoes on the side or pour the soup over the potato. If you have any leftover proteins, such as chicken or the rotisserie chicken, add that for additional protein. Serve with a side salad.
Frittatas are a super quick way to get dinner on the table fast. Whisk some eggs with a little cheese, spices, and throw in whatever veggies and protein you have. I prefer starting on the stove in an iron skillet and then transferring the frittata to the oven to finish off the cooking. Slice and serve with marinara sauce, greek yogurt, sliced avocados, or a simple mixed greens salad.
Eggs are versatile and delicious!
Places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have pre-made salmon burgers, turkey burgers, grass-fed beef burgers or a veggie burger. Heat and eat! Throw in that bagged salad and there’s another quick meal.
Although I don’t advocate for pasta often because I think it’s overused and sometimes lacks nutritionally, it can be made into a fast and healthy meal. Whether you go the traditional route and make it with marinara sauce, frozen meatballs, and a salad for spaghetti or use grass-fed butter or olive oil and garlic with frozen peas or other frozen veggies and chopped ham or chicken for a lighter spin, you can have a hot meal on the table in minutes.
They now have veggies noodles you can buy and either substitute for the noodle portion or add the veggie noodles to the pasta for an extra nutrient boost.
I haven’t even talked about crockpots or
With smart phones at our fingertips, we can yelp healthy options close to our location, use grub hub or a similar app for food delivery, order groceries online to be delivered to our house, try meal delivery kits where most of the prep is done for you but you get to do the cooking and serve a hot meal and so on and so on.
For more complete information on great choices of what to eat, please check out Amy Dirks: NUTRITION FOR SOCCER PLAYERS: WHAT TO EAT WHEN
Soccer players of all ages are always looking for nutrition advice and valuable tips for what to eat for peak performance. Here is Amy Dirks’ latest column on Fast Foots. Have a nutrition question? Ask Amy! Just email us your question and we will see if we can answer it in an upcoming article on great nutrition ideas for soccer players!