Youth soccer tournaments are hectic.
From booking the hotels, to making the long drives, to packing up the vans, to making sure players have both away and home uniforms in their bags, to trying to avoid a total meltdown as a parent.
It’s a lot.
Truthfully, I’m not sure how my parents made it out alive when I was growing up as a young soccer player. Although, my mom genuinely loved the game and seeing me ball out. We also had some epic car rides singing Britney Spears together. And my dad loved the adventure of it all. Plus, he’s Dutch, so obviously an avid soccer fan.
To that end, tournaments were pretty awesome and went smoothly.
However, I feel the one thing I didn’t know much about was on-the-road nutrition.
Chik-Fil-A drive through? You bet.
More often than not, I was downing toxic sludge. Of course as a kid, I didn’t know any better. Plus, these places were convenient. It’s also worth mentioning there wasn’t much of a healthy cultural push going on.
But nowadays there is.
I’m happy to share my favorite on-the-go snacks. I hope these hep.
Cookie dough, cookies n’ cream, rocky road, chocolate brownie, and blueberry muffin. How can you not enjoy one of these flavors? Better yet, Quest Bars are packed with protein and are a great post-game recovery snack.
Nuts ‘n More has blown me away with all of its flavors. However, maple chocolate pretzel is my personal favorite as well as their best seller.
Normally, I spread a tablespoon of this on toast with cinnamon. For any tournament, I recommend packing bread to go along with peanut butter, or other sandwich creations.
Don’t ignore the power of carbs.
3.) Cliff Bars
Another high carbs and high sugar option post-competition to speed up recovery process and replenish muscles, without totally eating junk (like candy).
I recommend this pre and post competition. It’s light, it’s delectable and it’s high in nutritional value.
Sure, I prefer whole foods over meal replacements, but if you don’t have time to pack produce and meat, I recommend a high protein and carb meal replacement shake.
Sometimes, energy wanes during tournaments. Both parents and players.
For parents, this energy shot is an extra jolt to make it through the long weekend. And for players, this is a great halftime pick-me-up that won’t make anyone overly jittery and hyped up.
Just enough to hone some extra focus and light a fire under your butt.
6.) If you’re eating out…
– Starbuck’s Best Options: spinach feta wrap, egg white bites, turkey pesto panini, chicken panini, multi-grain bagel with butter
– Dunkin Donuts Best Options: wake-up egg white wrap, bagel with egg and cheese, veggie egg white on a bagel
– McDonald’s Best Options: grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomato
– Chik-Fil-A Best Options: egg white grill sandwich, Greek yogurt parfait, fruit cup
– Chipotle Best Options: burrito bowl with rice, protein, salsa, lettuce, burrito with rice, protein, salsa, lettuce
Things to consider: opt for grilled chicken, instead of fried. Meals with too much cheese and fat may make athletes feel heavy and bogged down. Fruit is extra hydrating post-game. Eat a fist full of vegetables every meal.
Remember, when it comes to nutrition, eat foods that energize, improve performance, and enhance mood.
The foods that drag players down are the ones with the added grease and saturated fat (think sour cream and cheese and fried chicken and burgers and fries), so what are they eating to stay light and sharp on the pitch?