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Practical Meal planning for the youth athlete

Often times when youth athletes see college athletes they think wow their strength and Conditioning program must be on another level. While college level programs certainly are great one of the biggest differences between high level high school athletes and high level college athletes is nutrition. Many high level college athletes have team dietitians and nutritionist developing protocols for each individual athlete to follow based on their goals. This can be much harder at the high school level but athletes still can take steps to make nutrition a priority. One I have done personally at the past is to print ingredient list and then meet our athletes at the local grocer and we go shopping together for what we are going to eat that week. Nearly all young athletes understand the importance of protein consumption but very few actually ingest enough protein to meet the demands they are placing their body under. According to Phillips (2009) and various other studies 1.3-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight is the recommended amount of protein to drive adaptation and recovery in well trained athletes. If a high school athlete is simply eating school meals and pounding a protein shake after practice they are most likely not hitting their required minimum amount of protein per day. Carbohydrates are also equally important for athletes. While carbohydrates are vilanized by the modern diet industry and many parents themselves see success on the scale with low carbohydrate or no carbohydrate diets this does not mean it is optimal for a young athlete. According to Hassapidou (2011) "Carbohydrate intake can enhance training capacity and may consist the trigger point for winning an event and achieving the best possible performance" (Volume 45, issue 2). Athletes need a well balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, vegetables and fruit to achieve optimal performance. Below is a sample master grocery List as well as a few meal ideas with items from the list.

Master shopping list

Protein Sources

Chicken Breast

Chicken Thighs

Tukey Bacon

Ground Beef


Fish-not fried


Lean Steaks




Carbohydrate Sources

Sweet Potato Fries

Jasmine Rice

Brown Rice

Baked Potato

Mini Potato’s


Elbow Macaroni

Spaghetti noodles


Frozen Breakfast Potato’s

Assorted Fruits








Snack Options

Greek Yogurt

Cottage Cheese



Rice Cakes

Granola Bars

Protein Bars

Dark Chocolate

Deer/beef Jerky

Whole wheat waffles

Peanut Butter

Avocado Toast

PB&J on Whole wheat

Quick Breakfast Options for the picky eater

Kodiak Cake Waffles with Peanut Butter and Honey

Overnight Oats

Mighty Muffins

Kodiak Cake Pancakes in a cup

Pre Made Breakfast Burritos (Eggs, Sausage, Cheese, Potato)

Breakfast scrambles (Scambled eggs, bacon, peppers, cheese, hashbrowns)

Pre Training Options

Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter and Honey


Granola bar with fruit juice

Greek Yogurt with Honey

Breakfast recipes

Option 1

Baked Breakfast muffins

Ingredients: Eggs, Spinach, Peppers, Mushrooms, Cheese, Frozen Potatoes Obrien and

Choose one of the following if attempting to lose weight: Turkey bacon, Chicken apple sausage, ground turkey, if attempting to lose weight ½ cup cheese for the week.

Choose one of the following if attempting to gain weight: lean ground beef, fajita steak, Bacon, if attempting to gain weight 1 cup cheese for the week. You will also eat two peanut butter waffles with this.

Directions: Mix 10 eggs and all the ingredients in a bowl and then pour them into a muffin style baking pan, if the pan isn’t deep you will eat two per day if it is deep you will eat one per day. COOK meat before placing in bowl or you will get sick I have done this many times.

Option 2

Breakfast Burritos

Ingredients: Large wheat tortillas, eggs, spinach, peppers, cheese and Bacon

Directions: place all ingredients into large bowl and mix, cook them all together in a skillet and place into burrito for each day. If attempting to gain weight you will also eat two peanut butter waffles with this.

Lunch recipes

Taco Box w buffalo cauliflower

Ingredients needed: 1 pack taco seasoning, 1 large pack of ground beef 90/10 above if possible, 1 can jalapeno peppers, Jasmine Rice (can buy the premade), three bags frozen cauliflower, Buffalo seasoning, olive oil, shredded cheese.

Directions: Cook the ground beef in a large skillet with taco seasoning and jalapeno peppers, cook enough jasmine rice for 7.5 cups of jasmine rice once finished, 1.5 cups cooked per lunch, put cauliflower on a large baking sheet, mix with buffalo sauce, olive oil, salt and pepper and sprinkle with cheese, bake in oven on 400 until crispy.

Portions: 1 ½ cups of ground beef, 1 ½ cups of rice, 2 cups buffalo cauliflower per meal.

Lunch Roast

Ingredients: Two boxes Beef bone broth, 1 Bag of carrots, 1 bag of mini potatoes, 1 beef roast, onions, peppers, mushrooms.

Directions: Brown the beef roast and place all ingredients in large crock pot, let cook for 4-6 hours on high.

Portions: 3 cups of roast per meal males, two cups roast per meal females.


Hassapidou, M. (2011). Carbohydrate requirements of elite athletes. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 45(2).

Phillips, S. M., & Van Loon, L. J. (2011). Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to optimum adaptation. Journal of sports sciences, 29 Suppl 1, S29–S38.

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