Meal Prep for High School Athletes: A Game Plan for Your Nutrition

If you’re looking to meal prep for high school athletes, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will walk you through each step, ensuring you’re well-equipped to fuel your athletic journey.

Things You’ll Need: Meal Prep for High School Athletes

Meal Prep for High School Athletes: General Meal Prep Instructions

Step 1: Washing Vegetables

Begin your meal prep by thoroughly cleaning all your vegetables. Fill your sink with cold water and place the vegetables in it, ensuring they are fully submerged. Agitate the water with your hands to loosen any dirt.

For vegetables like carrots or potatoes that may have embedded dirt, use a vegetable brush to gently scrub the surface. Drain the sink and rinse the vegetables under cold running water. This process ensures that your vegetables are clean, free of dirt, and ready for the next steps.

Step 2: Cutting Vegetables

Place a stable cutting board on your kitchen counter and have a sharp knife at hand. Carefully lay your freshly washed vegetables on the board. With a steady hand, proceed to cut the vegetables according to the specifications of your recipe.

For instance, if you are making a salad, you may want to chop your veggies into small, bite-sized pieces. If you’re preparing stir-fry, consider slicing them into thin strips for quick cooking. Always exercise caution when using sharp knives.

Step 3: Preparing Protein

Your choice of protein—whether it’s chicken, fish, or a plant-based option like tofu—is crucial to your athletic performance. For animal-based proteins, start by trimming off any excess fat or skin to make it leaner. Next, cut the protein into evenly sized pieces to ensure consistent cooking times.

If you’re using plant-based proteins such as tofu or tempeh, start by draining them thoroughly to remove excess water. Place them on a paper towel and gently press to absorb any remaining moisture. Then, cut the protein into cubes or slices as needed for your recipe.

Step 4: Cooking Grains

Grains like rice, quinoa, or barley serve as excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. Begin by measuring your desired amount of grains using measuring cups. Usually, a ratio of 2:1 water-to-grains is recommended for cooking most grains. Pour the grains and water into a pot and place it on the stove.

Turn the heat up to high and bring the water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a low setting, cover the pot with a lid, and allow the grains to simmer. Make sure to check periodically to prevent overcooking. The grains are ready when they have absorbed all the water and are tender to the bite.

Meal Prep for High School Athletes – Easy Recipes

Below are 9 easy meal prep recipes for high school athletes. First, we’ll dive into the breakfast recipes…

Breakfast Recipes

Below are three easy breakfast recipes for high school athletes…

Recipe 1: Overnight Oats

Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons
Things You’ll Need
Step 1: Measure Ingredients

Start by gathering all your ingredients and measuring tools. Measure out 1 cup of rolled oats using a measuring cup. The type of oats is essential; rolled oats are preferable as they absorb liquid well. Then measure 1 cup of your choice of milk—this could be almond milk, cow’s milk, or any other preference.

Finally, measure 1 tablespoon of chia seeds using a measuring spoon. These seeds are high in fiber and will provide a gel-like consistency to your oats.

Step 2: Mix and Store

Now that you have all your measured ingredients, take your Mason jar and remove the lid. Place the rolled oats, milk, and chia seeds into the jar. Using a sturdy spoon, stir the mixture well to ensure that all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Once mixed, place the lid back on the Mason jar and screw it tightly to seal. Store the jar in the refrigerator overnight. This will allow the oats and chia seeds to absorb the liquid, making for a creamy, easy breakfast option.

Storage and Shelf Life

Place your sealed Mason jar in the fridge. This breakfast option can be stored for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Remember, this recipe makes two servings, so you have breakfast ready for the next day as well!

Recipe 2: Smoothie Packs

Things You’ll Need
Step 1: Portion Fruits and Vegetables

First, measure out 1 cup of mixed berries (like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries) using a measuring cup. You can use fresh or frozen berries depending on your preference.

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Then take a ripe banana and slice it into smaller pieces for easier blending later. Place both the mixed berries and banana slices into a Ziplock bag.

Step 2: Freeze

Press out as much air as possible from the Ziplock bag to prevent freezer burn. Seal the bag securely. If you’re planning on making multiple packs, label each one with a permanent marker to indicate the contents and the date.

Place the sealed Ziplock bag flat in your freezer, allowing for quicker and more uniform freezing.

Storage and Shelf Life

Smoothie packs can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to make your smoothie, you can take out a pack, place it in the blender with your choice of liquid, and blend away. This recipe is designed for one serving, making it convenient for a quick, nutritious breakfast option.

Recipe 3: Greek Yogurt and Fruit Parfait

Free public domain CC0 photo. More: View public domain image source here
Things You’ll Need
  • Glass or jar with a lid (for storage)
  • Spoon, for layering and eating
  • Greek Yogurt, plain or flavored based on preference
  • Fresh Fruit like berries, banana slices, or apple chunks
  • Granola, homemade or store-bought
Step 1: Layer Greek Yogurt

Start by taking your glass or jar and add enough Greek yogurt to cover the bottom. The layer can be as thick or thin as you prefer, but a standard measurement would be about 1/2 to 3/4 cup. Greek yogurt is an excellent choice because it’s rich in protein and lower in sugar compared to regular yogurt.

Step 2: Add Fruit

Next, choose your fresh fruits. You can use a single fruit like blueberries or mix it up with strawberries, banana slices, and so on. Add a generous layer of the fruit on top of the Greek yogurt in the glass. Fresh fruits not only add natural sweetness but also bring in essential vitamins and fiber to your parfait.

Step 3: Add Granola

Finally, sprinkle a layer of granola over the fruit. This adds a delightful crunch and can also provide extra fiber and nutrients, especially if it includes nuts or seeds. If you’re watching your sugar intake, make sure to use a low-sugar or sugar-free granola.

Storage and Shelf Life

Cover your glass or jar with a lid or cling film and place it in the fridge. These parfaits can be stored for up to 2 days, making them a convenient and quick breakfast or snack option. This recipe is designed for one serving.

Learn how to meal prep for every situation here – Meal Prep for Every Situation: Your Ultimate Guide

Meal Prep for High School Athletes – Lunch Recipes

Below are three meal prep recipes for high school athletes…

Recipe 1: Grilled Chicken Salad

Things You’ll Need
  • Grill Pan or outdoor grill
  • Salad Bowl
  • Meat Thermometer
  • 1 Chicken Breast, boneless and skinless
  • Lettuce, any variety (Romaine, Iceberg, etc.)
  • Cherry Tomatoes, washed
  • Salad Dressing of your choice, homemade or store-bought
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt and pepper
Step 1: Grill the Chicken

Take a chicken breast and season it evenly with salt and pepper. If you like, you can also add other seasonings such as garlic powder or paprika for extra flavor. Heat your grill pan over medium-high heat and place the chicken breast on it.

Grill each side for about 6-7 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C) when measured with a meat thermometer. This ensures that your chicken is fully cooked and safe to eat.

Step 2: Assemble the Salad

While the chicken is resting for a few minutes, you can start preparing the salad. Take a large salad bowl and add washed and torn lettuce leaves. Add cherry tomatoes, which you can cut in half if you prefer.

Slice your grilled chicken into bite-sized pieces and add them to the bowl. Drizzle your choice of salad dressing over the ingredients and toss everything well to combine.

Storage and Shelf Life

Transfer your salad to an airtight container and store it in the fridge. The grilled chicken salad will stay fresh for up to 3 days. This makes it ideal for meal prepping for future lunches. This recipe makes two servings, perfect for sharing or saving for another meal.

Recipe 2: Tuna Salad

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Things You’ll Need
  • Bowl, preferably one that is deep enough to mix ingredients easily
  • Fork, for breaking apart the tuna and mixing
  • Canned Tuna, preferably in water for a healthier option
  • Mayonnaise, or a lighter alternative like Greek yogurt if preferred
  • Celery, washed and finely chopped
  • Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed for best flavor
Step 1: Drain Tuna

Start by opening your can of tuna with a can opener. Drain the liquid from the can into the sink. You can do this by pressing the lid down into the can after opening and tipping it over the sink, allowing the excess liquid to drain away. This leaves you with just the solid tuna, ready for mixing.

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Step 2: Mix Ingredients

Take a bowl and place the drained tuna in it. Use a fork to break apart the chunks of tuna into smaller, flakier pieces. Add a tablespoon of mayonnaise to the tuna. If you’re looking for a healthier option, a tablespoon of Greek yogurt works as a good substitute.

Now, add your finely chopped celery to the mix. This adds a nice crunch to your salad. Lastly, squeeze some fresh lemon juice into the bowl. This enhances the flavors and adds a bit of zing. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly using the fork until well combined.

Storage and Shelf Life

Place your tuna salad into an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh and edible for up to 2 days. This recipe yields two servings, making it a convenient option for a quick lunch or snack.

Recipe 3: Veggie Stir-Fry

Things You’ll Need
  • Wok or Skillet, for cooking
  • Spatula, for stirring and serving
  • Assorted Vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, and carrots
  • Soy Sauce, for flavoring
  • Oil, such as vegetable or olive oil
Step 1: Heat Oil

Place your wok or skillet on the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Pour about a tablespoon of your chosen oil into the wok. Allow the oil to heat up for a minute or two. You’ll know it’s ready when it starts to shimmer slightly.

Step 2: Cook Vegetables

Once the oil is hot, carefully add your assorted vegetables. For a more colorful and nutritious stir-fry, use a mix of bell peppers, broccoli, and carrots.

Stir the vegetables using your spatula, making sure to keep them moving to avoid burning or sticking. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but still have a bit of crunch.

Step 3: Add Sauce

Pour approximately 2 tablespoons of soy sauce over the cooked vegetables. Soy sauce adds a rich, umami flavor to your stir-fry. Stir the vegetables and soy sauce together until they’re well mixed, ensuring that the sauce evenly coats the veggies.

Storage and Shelf Life

Once your stir-fry is ready, transfer it to an airtight container for storage. Place the container in the fridge where it will stay fresh for up to 3 days. This recipe is designed to yield four servings, making it an excellent choice for meal prepping or family meals.

Meal Prep for High School Athletes – Dinner Recipes

Below are three easy dinner recipes…

Recipe 1: Spaghetti with Meatballs

D. Laird from Riverside County, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Things You’ll Need
  • Pot, for boiling spaghetti
  • Pan, for cooking meatballs
  • Colander
  • Spaghetti, about 16 ounces for 4 servings
  • Ground Beef, preferably lean, around 1 pound
  • Marinara Sauce, one 16-ounce can or homemade equivalent
  • Garlic, 2-3 cloves, peeled and finely minced
  • Onions, 1 medium-sized, peeled and finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 slices of Bread
  • Water
Step 1: Cook the Spaghetti

Begin by filling a large pot with water, adding a pinch of salt for flavor. Place the pot on the stove and set the heat to high to bring the water to a rapid boil. Once the water is boiling, carefully add your spaghetti. Stir it a few times to prevent sticking.

Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions, typically 8-10 minutes for al dente. When done, turn off the heat and carefully drain the water from the spaghetti using a colander. Set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Meatballs

While your spaghetti is cooking, you can start on the meatballs. For juicy meatballs, we have a twist. Trim the crust off two bread slices. Cut the white portion of the bread into cubes and place in a bowl. Pour in a little water to soak the bread and leave for a few minutes.

After a few minutes, mash the bread with a fork till it reaches a pudding-like consistency. Then, combine the ground beef, finely chopped onions, and minced garlic. Season with some salt and black pepper.

Use your hands to mix these ingredients thoroughly. After mixing, start forming this mixture into small, round balls. These will be your meatballs.

Place a pan on the stove and set the heat to medium-high. Once the pan is hot, carefully add the meatballs. Turn them occasionally using a fork or spatula, ensuring they cook evenly.

Cook until they are browned on all sides and a meat thermometer reads at least 160°F (71°C) when inserted into the center of a meatball. This ensures they are cooked thoroughly.

Step 3: Assemble

Now that both the spaghetti and meatballs are ready, it’s time to bring it all together. Take a large pot or serving dish and combine the cooked spaghetti and meatballs.

Pour your marinara sauce over the top. Using a pair of tongs or a large spoon, gently stir to combine all the ingredients, making sure the sauce evenly coats the spaghetti and meatballs.

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Storage and Shelf Life

After allowing the dish to cool to room temperature, you can store any leftovers in an airtight container. Place the container in the refrigerator, where it will keep well for up to 4 days. If you would like to store it for a longer period, you can also freeze it. Just make sure to use a freezer-safe container.

When stored in the freezer, the spaghetti with meatballs will stay good for up to 3 months. This recipe makes approximately 4 servings, perfect for a family dinner or multiple meals.

Dinner Recipe 2: Beef Stir-Fry

jeffreyw, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Things You’ll Need
  • Wok or Skillet, preferably non-stick for easy cooking
  • Spatula, for stirring and flipping
  • Beef Slices, about 1 pound, preferably sirloin or flank steak
  • Vegetables, a variety such as bell peppers, broccoli, and carrots
  • Soy Sauce, approximately 1/4 cup for marinating
Step 1: Marinate Beef

Begin by placing your beef slices in a shallow dish. Pour enough soy sauce over the beef to coat it generously. Use your hands or a spoon to make sure each slice is well-covered in the sauce. Allow the beef to marinate for at least 20 minutes. This step helps to tenderize the beef and infuse it with flavor.

Step 2: Sauté Vegetables

While the beef is marinating, you can start on your vegetables. Place your wok or skillet on the stove and set the heat to medium-high. Once the pan is hot, add a splash of oil and then toss in your chosen vegetables.

Using a spatula, stir the vegetables frequently, ensuring they cook evenly. Continue to sauté until the vegetables are tender yet still crisp, which should take about 5-7 minutes.

Step 3: Add Beef

After your vegetables are appropriately softened, push them to the side of the wok or skillet to make room for the beef. Add the marinated beef slices to the pan.

Cook the beef, stirring frequently, until it is fully cooked and no longer pink in the middle. This should take around 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of your slices.

Storage and Shelf Life

Once the stir-fry has cooled down to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container. Store the container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

If you would like to store it for an extended period, place the airtight container in the freezer, where it will stay good for up to 2 months. This recipe makes approximately 3 servings.

Dinner Recipe 3: Chicken Alfredo Pasta

Debbie Tingzon from Doha, Qatar, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Things You’ll Need
  • Pot, for boiling fettuccine
  • Pan, for cooking chicken
  • Fettuccine Pasta, about 12 ounces
  • Chicken Breast, approximately 1 pound
  • Salt and pepper
  • Alfredo Sauce, one 16-ounce jar or homemade equivalent
Step 1: Boil Pasta

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil on high heat. Once the water is boiling, season with some salt and add the fettuccine pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, usually around 10-12 minutes for al dente. Once the pasta is cooked, drain the water using a colander and set it aside.

Step 2: Cook Chicken

While your pasta is cooking, start on the chicken. Season the chicken breast generously with salt and black pepper. Place a pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add a bit of oil, then place your chicken breasts in the pan.

Cook the chicken, turning occasionally, until it is fully cooked through and no longer pink in the middle. A meat thermometer should read at least 165°F (74°C) when inserted into the thickest part of the breast.

Step 3: Combine and Serve

Finally, in a large pot or serving dish, combine the cooked fettuccine pasta and chicken. Pour the Alfredo sauce over the mixture. Using tongs or a large spoon, mix all the ingredients well, making sure the sauce evenly coats the pasta and chicken.

Storage and Shelf Life

After the dish has cooled to room temperature, transfer any leftovers to an airtight container. Store this container in the refrigerator, where it will be good for up to 4 days. This recipe provides around 4 servings, making it ideal for family dinners or meal prep.

Conclusion: Meal Prep for High School Athletes

Meal prep for high school athletes doesn’t have to be daunting. With a bit of planning and a few basic ingredients, you can prepare nutritious and delicious meals that will fuel your athletic performance throughout the week.

These recipes are not only easy to make but also offer a balance of protein, carbs, and essential nutrients to keep you in top shape. Remember to store each meal properly to ensure it stays fresh for as long as possible.

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