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Friday, March 27, 2015

Don't Let Nutrition Take a Back Seat During Soccer Season

Sports season doesn’t have to mean fast-food season, so don't let good nutrition takes a back seat.  Here are 4 ways to simply your soccer-mom schedule while keeping everyone nutritiously fed:

  • Kids are starving after school and need something on their way to practice or game that is easy to keep in the car - maybe a make-your-own trail mix (cereal, pretzels, dried fruit and nuts) & water bottles. about 100-150 calories  is all they need, make sure it is packed with nutrients not just empty calories.                                                                                                          
  • Your turn for team treats:  the bane of every soccer mom’s existence to find easy, healthy treats for the soccer team. Keep in mind, that game treats are more of a tradition than a nutritional necessity so keep them small and healthful.  Avoid anything but water bottles.  We drink WAY too much sugar in this country and I could to on and on for quite a while on that soapbox, but I'll save that for another post.  Go retro with the classic orange wedges, or a frozen yogurt tube or string cheese or Babybel.  Small, nutritious and avoid added sugar.

  • When an orange and water bottle don’t cut it: post-competition for those older, higher-intensity athletes (track, cross country, conditioning) whose extended, intense workouts require some recovery nutrition, think: milk - plain, chocolate or flavored and 1/2 pb&j.  That way with about 200 calories you can provide carbs to replenish their glycogen stores and protein to help rebuild muscle.  
  • Being the busy chauffeur doesn’t make the drive-thru a must: don’t skip the family dinner table.  Even a late family dinner is better than hitting the drive-thru. In this case, the crockpot is your friend.  

Try this simple 5-6 ingredient, 5 minute recipe that is versatile enough to provide 4 different meal variations.  

Mexican crockpot magic meal:
Dump into your crockpot: 
1 can drained, rinsed beans
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup or so of salsa
1 cup or so of frozen corn (can use canned corn, just be sure to drain and rinse)
1 lb. meat (chicken breast, stew meat, or pork roast)
Let cook on low 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.  (I personally like to add a dash of chipotle chili powder, some smoked paprika and cumin, but that is completely optional and up to your personal tastes.)
Serve with tortillas as a taco, enchilada or tostada filling.  

Vegetarian variation: 
omit the meat and add instead a second can of beans of a different variety.

Soup variation:
Add 2 cups chicken broth and you have instant chili-type soup

Cowboy Caviar variation:
skip the meat and the crockpot and toss the ingrendients together cold, as soon as you get home.  In 5 minutes, you've got 
a great basis for hearty "macho" nachos  

Taco Salad variation:
Save your leftovers for another night and serve cold over a bed of lettuce for taco salad.

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