Easy Nutrition for High School and College Athletes

As summer comes close, every athlete knows that tryout season is near. After an enjoyable break, reality hits that you need to get back into peak physical fitness for your sport. As you start to prep your workouts and get yourself mentally prepared for the season, don’t forget about nutrition! As an athlete you feel like you can get away with eating whatever and however much you like because you burn it all off. But diet and nutrition has a much bigger impact on your performance on the field and off than you think. The good news is that nutrition for high school and college athletes is easier than you think.

With almost daily practices and games, you’re burning a lot of calories. You need to fuel your body to last all game long while giving it the nutrition it needs to build muscle. Male and female athletes can consume upwards of 3,000 calories per day to fulfill their caloric needs, especially if they’re still growing. It can be challenging to know how to spend all of those calories to get the quality fuel you need. Sometimes you’re running late for classes and need a protein packed on-the-go breakfast. Other times you come home from practice and don’t have the energy to put together a meal to replenish your carbohydrates.

Carbs are your BFF

Keto and low-carb diets have no place in the athletic world where carbs are king. You need carbs to give you the energy to achieve peak endurance and speed. Carbohydrates serve as the primary source of energy for all of your practices, games, and workouts. Your body changes carbs into glucose (AKA sugar) and stores it in your muscles to use for energy later on. An athlete’s diet should be 50-70% carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Whole grains are grains that are unrefined and therefore still have all of their nutrients. Choosing whole grain breads and pastas over refined grains will give you the boost in energy you need while boosting your protein intake for the day. One great way to get some whole grain carbohydrates into your day is by starting your mornings with an easy steel-cut oatmeal parfait with fruit.

Your vegetable intake should consist of a combination of starchy and non-starchy veggies. Starchy vegetables include potatoes, corn, peas, and beans. Non-starchy vegetables include broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, and zucchini. You should aim for a total intake of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables for the day. The good news is that carbo-loading on pastas and veggies is easy and probably your favorite when it comes to nutrition for high school and college athletes.

Hydration, hydration, hydration

The beginning of the fall season can still be extremely hot in most parts of the country. When your body is not properly hydrated you risk poor performance, an injury, and in worse cases, your life. Hydration should be an all-day focus, not just while you’re at practice or during a game. Generally, athletes should divide their weight in half and drink that amount ounces of water every day.

You should begin practice or a game well-hydrated and continue to maintain hydration during exercise. All of that sweat that accumulates during playing can lead to 2-3% decrease in body weight from water. The general rule of thumb to follow is that if you’re thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

For peak hydration and performance according to the NCAA, drink one 16 oz water bottle 2-3 hours before your exercise and one 8 oz glass of water 15 minutes before. During your practice or game you should be drinking 2-3 large gulps of water every 15-20 minutes. Sports drinks are a great hydration option as they replenish carbohydrates and electrolytes for athletes exercising for more than 60 minutes. Beware of added sugars though!

Powerful Proteins

High-quality proteins are a must when it comes to maintaining and building muscle for athletes. These include lean meats such as chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, cheese, yogurt, tofu, and edamame. An athlete requires upwards of 1.7 g of protein per kilogram of body weight. To get in your daily amount of protein, try to get protein in with every meal.

Getting protein in with every meal can be difficult if you’re busy between classes, studying, homework, practices, and games. Especially when it comes to a protein packed breakfast. Whether you need something quick before you catch the bus or only have access to a microwave in the dorms, you need something that is easy and packs the protein. Try keeping a breakfast burrito in your freezer for mornings like this.

Be cautious of consuming too much protein as it can cause damage to your kidneys and can lead to dehydration. Some protein powders and bars can be loaded with sugar and artificial additives to increase the amount of protein. The best way to increase your protein intake is a whole foods approach.

Superstar Snacking

The desire to snack all day is so real when your body is craving all those calories. We all know that your school’s vending machine doesn’t have the best options either. So instead of relying on an unhealthy snack that is probably filled with sugars and artificial flavors, try packing a snack.

Pack options like nuts, trail mix, granola bars, or dried fruits. Beware of products that are marketed towards athletes, jacked up with artificial proteins and sugars. Whole food options are best, try making your snacks at home or read the nutrition label and ingredients list if buying in-store.

Finicky Fats

Fats are a great source of energy for your body when it is running low on carbohydrates. As an athlete who’s diet is 50-70% carbs, a high fat diet is not recommended. Your regular intake of nuts, avocados, olive oil, and fatty fishes is plenty. Beware the eating fatty foods on the day of an important game or extraneous practice might make you feel sick.

Each athlete’s diet will vary depending on their sport, how often you train or play, and how long you’re exercising for. Listening to your body is just as important as maintaining your nutrition, you know your body better than anyone else does. Nutrition for high school and college athletes is not too different than someone who is lightly active, the main difference being an increased carbohydrate intake.

9 Ways A Frozen Meal Can Simplify Your Life

Eating frozen foods has numerous benefits. The biggest one is in regards to good health. Contrary to popular belief, frozen meals and food can be super healthy. Nowadays, buying frozen meals is more nutritious than it used to be, as more and more food brands are offering healthy freezer foods that contain good-for-you ingredients that are limited in preservatives and processed ingredients. Freezing your own foods, like veggies and fruits, is a surefire way to stay in control of what’s in your own freezer while helping to reduce food waste too.

Frozen foods can make your life a lot easier as well. Here are nine ways healthy frozen food can simplify your life, reduce stress in your routine, and make you and your entire family satisfied at the kitchen counter.


9 Reasons Frozen Foods Ease Your Day

There’s hardly any prep time. We’ve all been there: You come home from work starving and the last thing you want to do is start chopping veggies, boiling water, and sauteeing meat or tofu. Not all meals can be whipped up at a moment’s notice. This is why frozen food is amazing! If you want a healthy meal in minutes, look no further than your freezer. If you’re buying frozen meals, all that’s required is defrosting time. Remember to preheat a conventional or toaster oven if you’re not using a microwave.

You can take better control of your budget. If you’re buying frozen meals you know exactly how much it costs. If you’re cooking something from scratch it can be really difficult to know how much you’re spending per portion. Considering healthy frozen meals are affordable and much cheaper than ordering take-out or going out to a restaurant, you can manage your food budget with ease.

The portions are perfect. Eating a frozen meal takes out any guesswork when it comes to portion size. Americans are notorious for over-eating, which typically happens when we go out to eat. It’s also tricky to nail portion size when cooking from scratch. Frozen meals do the work for you and portion everything out so you know you’re eating the right amount.

You get variety. Is it just me, or do you stick to making the same two or three meals when in charge of the kitchen? Get out of the habit of cooking the same thing time and time again and eat frozen meals to add variety into your diet. Enjoy a breakfast burrito for breakfast, heat up frozen soup or a veggie pizza for lunch, and defrost a frozen stir fry or another entree for dinner. When purchasing a frozen meal, try to pick different kinds that will help you get all different types of vitamins and minerals in your diet.

It’s easier to manage calorie intake. If you’re counting calories for health reasons, frozen meals make it super simple to know how many you’re eating at every meal. Take a breakfast burrito as an example. It might be really hard to know how many calories it is if you make it from scratch. At the very least, you’ll be doing a lot of math. If you eat a packaged frozen breakfast burrito, the label will tell you all there is to know while preventing overeating.

There’s something for every picky eater. If you’re cooking for a family, chances are not everyone likes the same types of foods. There is where frozen meals are a godsend; have your family members request the types of healthy foods they want for dinner, and they can have that for dinner! The sky is the limit when it comes to types of frozen meals available down the freezer aisle that makes everyone around the dinner table satisfied.

The shelf life is nearly endless. Frozen meals combat food waste since there’s no chance it will go bad in the freezer. Just make sure to keep food stored in the back of the freezer (avoid the door) and eat the meal in a reasonable amount of time — usually 6-12 months. Stocking up on a bunch of freezer meals is also a smart idea since you never know when you’ll need a healthy meal, and fast.

You can feed an army. If you’re feeding a large family or hosting a party, frozen healthy foods can come to the rescue. Consider stocking up on healthy frozen pizzas or tasty entrees for dinners. Hosting a breakfast? Frozen steel-cut oats, waffles, or breakfast burritos will be your next best friend.

They’ll help you stay healthy. It’s worth reiterating that adding frozen meals to your life can also help you live a healthier life. With frozen meals, you’ll know exactly what you’re putting into your body by reading the nutritional label. There are now tons of options for healthier food options, too, so you can eat what tastes good while also fueling your body right.


Frozen meals are tasty, healthy, easy to prepare, and will satisfy any picky eater. They’ll also help reduce food waste and save you time in the kitchen. What’s not to love about healthy frozen food? Make the freezer aisle your new best friend and reap the multiple benefits of doing so.



10 Tips For Controlling Your Portion Sizes

Overeating is a huge problem in America. It is also one of the leading cause of obesity. As of 2016, about 93.3 million people in the U.S. are considered obese, which comes out to nearly 40% of the population. Obesity is a serious health concern and can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. (It’s important to note that obesity is a complex topic and genetics and other socioeconomic factors also influence the disease.)

Other people in America simply suffer from eating more than they should, which leads to gaining unnecessary amounts of weight and could trigger numerous physical and mental health issues.

A big reason we overeat is because we’ve learned to eat more than necessary. In fact, a survey that measured serving sizes from takeout, eat-in, and fast food chains found that America’s favorite carb — the bagel — was 195% larger than the standard size established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). They also found that muffins were 333% larger and the amount of pasta served to patrons was 480 percent bigger than what the serving size says on the box. We’re literally biting off more than we can chew.


Portion Versus Serving Size

In order to control portion sizes, people need to understand serving sizes. A serving size is an amount of food an individual should consume, which is calculated by government agencies like the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Serving sizes don’t need to be memorized, and in most cases just require reading nutritional labels. However, things can get hairy when we go out to eat, since most restaurant meals don’t come with a thumbs up from the USDA. It happens at home, too; in most cases, people eat a larger portion than the correct serving size, which is what causes overeating and an influx of health problems.


10 Ways to Avoid Overeating

Luckily, there’s a way to control portion sizes beyond having better self-control (though that’s important, too!) Here are ten tips to portion your food out correctly, and as a result, feel healthier and more confident in your body.

Use smaller plates and bowls

There have been a handful of studies that found that the sizes of our plates, spoons, and glasses actually affects how much food is consumed. For starters, eating dinner on a large plate can make the serving look smaller, which can lead to going back for seconds (or thirds!). One study found that people eating pasta from a large bowl ate 77% more than those eating from a smaller bowl, while another experiment revealed people ate 31% more ice cream when it was out of a large bowl, while others ate 14.5% more when using a larger spoon. The most interesting part is people don’t even realize they are eating more when consuming food from larger dishware. So, a surefire way to eat less — and not notice! — is to ditch the larger plates and bowls you’re used to eating with and start using smaller sizes.

Stock up on healthy packaged meals

The beauty of frozen meals is they are portioned out for you. So instead of making your own stovetop oatmeal (and being generous with the amount of honey or syrup poured on top) consider a readymade oatmeal bowl as a portion-controlled option with the correct serving already inside. Other delicious portion-controlled options could include breakfast burritos or buffalo mac n cheese as a way to control over eating more indulgent options— excess sugar and preservatives nowhere to be seen. Frozen healthy meals taste delicious and are a great replacement over more indulgent options — like restaurant burritos — which more often than not exceed the recommended serving size.

Don’t skip meals

This one is super important! People like to think that by skipping a meal, they will ultimately eat less and lose weight in the process. The problem with that is our hunger will eventually catch up with us, and we actually may end up eating more at lunch after fasting through breakfast. Stick to three, portioned meals a day to prevent overindulging or reaching a point where the body feels like it’s starving.

Start each meal with water

Another way to avoid overeating is to begin each meal by drinking a glass of water. Oftentimes we mistake hunger for thirst, so drinking some H20 helps the body identify what it really wants and needs.

Ask for half portions when out to eat

Remember those scary restaurant stats we mentioned earlier? Avoid getting served nearly five times the amount of pasta you should be eating at an Italian restaurant and ask for half of your meal to be packaged up when served to you. This way, you’re eating closer to what is the correct portion size and you have leftovers for the following day. Win-win.

Fill your plate the right way

When cooking at home, the best way to ensure a balanced meal is to actually proportion out the amount of protein, grains, and veggies you’re eating. USDA’s MyPlate recommends that half of the plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables, a quarter should be whole grains (like brown rice or quinoa) and the other quarter should be protein. Actually placing the food on a plate like this helps ensure you’re eating the right amount of everything.

Don’t eyeball portions — measure them

Get in the habit of actually using measuring cups and spoons. It’s easy to want to eyeball everything, but you would be surprised by what a ½ cup serving of cereal actually looks like, along with what two tablespoons of peanut butter ends up being on toast.

Chew slowly

Eating slowly ensures that our stomachs catch up with our minds and signals that we’re full before it’s too late. Not only does eating at a slower pace help us eat less, but it also supports better digestion and hydration, along with allowing us to actually enjoy what we eat. Think about it: How often do we take notice of each bite of a burger or salad, appreciating the taste versus biting into it again before we have even swallowed? One study found that women who ate quickly consumed a whopping 646 calories in nine minutes, while women who ate slowly consumed only 579 — in 29 minutes!

Ditch containers and bags

Never ever, ever eat straight from a bag or box. I’ve been known to bring a bag of chips with me to the couch, and before I know it the eight servings in the bag are now all in my stomach. Always measure out the snack you want to munch on and place it in a bowl to avoid eating way more than you should.

Keep a food journal

Keeping track of how much you’re eating will also help you with portion control. If you write down everything you eat throughout the day, including what you graze on, you might realize you’ve almost capped out on your calories even before dinner! This could help you cook a smaller portion since you know the body doesn’t need a big meal.

Pre-portion snacks when on-the-go.

Traveling can sometimes wreak havoc on our food choices. Instead of relying on food at rest stops, bus stations, or airport terminals, bring an array of snacks with you that are portioned out correctly. Things like popcorn, yogurt, sliced veggies, and individual packages of nut butter are great to always have on hand so you’re eating doesn’t get out of control.


Overeating doesn’t have to consume our lives. By making a few small shifts and habit changes, we can be eating less than we ever thought, while still satisfying our stomachs and sticking to what nutritionists believe is the correct amount of food we need to live a healthy life.