Athletes need to eat on the go- between classes, workouts, and competition but they also need to eat on the bus, or the road, at the venue, in the hotel as part of their travel season. There are a lot of variables that may not be in the athletes’ control such as:
- Travel woes
- Competition schedule
So let’s take the food worry out of the equation. As stressful as travel can be, food should be the guarantee and security of consistency. Competition is stressful, tummies can be upset and appetite may diminish, yet the body needs to be fueled. Food familiarity and availability goes a long way in creating a calmer atmosphere. For the athlete with food sensitivities, intolerances or allergies, having familiar and safe foods available can be quite comforting. When there are concerns regarding food perishability and food safety, having foods that are portable, palatable and non-perishable protects the student athletes from food borne illnesses and keeps them in the game, not on the sideline.
Athletes don’t want to spend the time seeking out their own food, so creating performance eating destinations is important on the road as well as school.
Here are some things to consider for away games.
Address the needs of all athletes
Portable snacks that are salty and savory not just sweet
- PBJ wraps or sandwiches
- Hummus wraps
- Energy bites
- Trail mix made from cereal, nuts, dried fruit, roasted beans
- Fresh fruit and portioned nut butters
- Fruit/vegetable bars
- Veggie chips: beets, carrots, spinach
- Hummus/pita chips
- Seeds ( sunflower, pumpkin)
- Oatmeal packets and consider adding peanut powder, dried fruit, spices and even nonfat dry milk powder in portable containers where the student athlete can just add water for a complete meal or snack
- Wraps of turkey, hummus, ham, chicken and instead of veggies within, veggies on the side:
- Bean salad
- Pasta salad with vegetables
- Marinated veggies
- Fruit salad
- Raw veggies with guacamole or hummus dip
- Chopped salad
- Roasted vegetables
Protein of some kind: chicken, steak, tuna, tofu, turkey and
Rice or pasta
Protein and vegetables with a side of
Specialty flavor profiles for protein such as:
Also consider the ease of consumption:
- Wraps cut into halves or thirds
- Utensils when necessary
- Fruit that is cut up rather than whole
- Energy bites that are individually packaged
Our athletes expect and should get performance eating destinations anywhere, anytime and in any place. This gives partners like Sodexo a chance to take the lead in meeting the needs of athletes while in college, and important part of the development of their new Athletic Performance offer – The Circuit. Travel and Training Table menus are important part of fueling performance and I collaborated on with them on this new concept earlier this spring. Athletes cannot be guaranteed of a win every time they travel, but can always be sure that their food is high quality, the right quantity, available, accessible, safe, and consistent.
Leslie Bonci is a nutrition consultant and sports dietitian for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Kansas City Chiefs, Toronto Blue Jays and Carnegie Mellon University. Bonci consults with Sodexo to create customized menu offers for Universities sports clients.