Tips For Lunch on the Go
Athletes’ schedules can be hectic. Classes, meetings, practices, games, repeat. It can be tough to find time to squeeze in a balanced meal. Your midday meal is important for recovery from morning workouts, fueling the rest of your day, and maintaining focus to get through your class schedule. We realize getting proper nutrition while constantly on the go can be difficult, so we’ve put together some helpful tips to make sure you’re getting the fuel you need no matter how busy life gets.
#1 Planning is Key
You won’t drift toward balanced meals on accident. Carve out some time weekly to plan out your meals. It may take longer as you get started but soon, it will become more natural. Try planning 3 main options and 3 sides for the week. This will allow for flexibility and prevent you from getting bored with the same meal every day. Make a list and don’t forget snacks! Individual packs of nuts or pretzels with hummus are a couple that can help you get through to your next meal. If you need help coming with recipes or just need a break from eating the same things, check out our ebook Lunch Made Simple! Be mindful of when you feel hungry the most and account for that.
#2 Batch Cooking
Once you’ve planned your meals for the week, carve out some time once or twice a week to cook food for multiple days at once. This can help free up some time later in the week and allow you to grab meals and go on your busiest days. For example, try roasting entire pans of vegetables, cooking an entire bag of brown rice, or cooking the entire pack of chicken breasts. Keep in mind, if you’re trying new recipes, match up the intensity of the recipe with the intensity of your day. Aiming for 5-star cuisine during finals week may not be the best idea.
#3 Always keep Staples on Hand
Some things should always be in the cupboard. Bread, peanut butter, olive oil, salsa, spices, etc. This list looks different for everyone. Think about your go-to meals and what you can keep on hand for them. This makes meal prep quicker and easier.
#4 Plan for Leftovers
If you’re batch cooking as mentioned above, you should have leftovers. Get creative. Leftover chicken or turkey? Shred it and try enchiladas, quesadillas or a deli wrap. Leftover mashed potatoes? Add egg and parmesan to make potato pancakes. Turn your meats and vegetables into hearty soups. Leftover vegetables can double as omelet or salad toppings, or can be a great addition to homemade pizza.
#5 Plan your Budget
Know what you have to spend. There are ways to fuel properly on a budget. For example, all of the items below make the Under $2 List (and most stretch for multiple meals):
- 1 lb Brown Rice
- 1 lb Whole Wheat Pasta
- 1 loaf Whole Wheat Bread
- 8 oz Nonfat Greek Yogurt
- Bag of Russet Potatoes
- Canned Beans
- Canned Tuna
- Dried Lentils
Be sure to check out Optimal Performance Starts at the Grocery Store for more help navigating through grocery shopping.
It’s important to continue fueling throughout the day and getting that midday meal in can be key to your success. Planning ahead and bringing your own meals with you can help relieve unnecessary daily stresses and keep you from seeking out unhealthy convenience items like fast food.
Resources and Links
- Lunch Made Simple
- Breakfast Made Simple
- Dinner Made Simple
- Grocery Shopping List For Athletes
- I Just Don’t Have Enough Time to Plan, What to Do?
- What’s Your Plan for Nutrition?
- Grocery Shopping List for Athletes
- What’s Cooking in Sports Nutrition: Recipes for Athletes