Healthy Perspective by Melissa Wieczorek

Recipes and Tips for Fueling Your Student Athlete

As school gets back underway so do our children's sports activities, which means countless hours of driving back and forth to practices and games and less time at home to prepare (and eat) healthy meals.  Unfortunately for our kids that often means lots of convenience and fast food to "fuel up".  But just like low quality fuel affects your car's performance low quality foods affect your child's performance both in school and in the game.

I've been a working travel hockey mom for 16 years and counting.  So I understand first-hand how difficult it is to find time to prepare healthy meals and how easy it is to succumb to the convenience of all of the bad alternatives out there.  Here are a couple of my favorite tips and recipes to help you easily keep your youth athlete's tank full of quality fuel.

Breakfast:  Think outside of the (cereal) box.  Have your child pick a fruit, protein and grain every morning.  Sound complicated?  It's not.  Think quick and portable -  fruit & protein smoothies, whole grain waffle with natural nut butter and apple or banana slices, or throw some scrambled eggs and cheese into a tortilla with a little salsa, wrap in foil and send them on their way!

Pre-Game (1-2 hours before the game):  Small meal of lean protein & complex carb combos such as ½ cup of trail mix, a Greek yogurt,  veggies and hummus, beans or multi grain pasta with tomato sauce and lean protein such as chicken, turkey sausage or shrimp.  Drink lots of water.

Post-Game (1-2 hours after the game):  Hearty, easy to digest meal including fruit, protein and a grain and plenty of fluids.  Try these easy pasta and pork recipes.  Use them as a formula and reinvent them over and over again to suit your family's tastes and preferences.

Athletes Favorite Pasta

A great protein and complex carb combo.  Substitute whatever beans, cheeses and greens you have on hand to make this recipe your own!

8 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

6 ounces uncooked multigrain rotini

½ cup reduced fat 6-Cheese Italian Blend

2 Tbsp olive oil

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Crushed red pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to directions but add spinach to the pot with the pasta during the last 2 minutes of cooking, stirring to wilt.  Drain and toss with remaining ingredients.  Voila!  Dinner is served.

Yield:  4, 2 cup servings; 400 calories/svg.

Tip :  This recipe is delicious hot or cold.  Toss leftovers with diced cooked chicken or turkey and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

© A la Maison Personal Chef Service.

Mexican Pork (aka The Crock Pot is My Friend)

2 medium onions, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

3-4# pork loin

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

2 cups water or chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste.

Place onion and carrots in slow cooker.  Rub herbs and seasonings all over pork. Optional:  Brown over medium heat.  Place pork on top of vegetables and add water or chicken stock.    Cover and cook on low 10-12 hours.  Shred pork.  Stir in cooked vegetables and cilantro, if using.  Serve over brown rice or in corn tortillas.  Top with your favorite Mexican accompaniments (e.g.  salsa, avocado, light cheese, sour cream, etc.).

Yield:  6-8 servings.

Tip:  I prefer to brown my meat before putting it in the crock pot to render some of the fat and deepen the flavors.  But if you're short on time it's O.K. to skip this step.  Just make sure you trim all visible fat as too much can cause over-cooking in the crock pot.

© A la Maison Personal Chef Service.

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