Have you figured out how to eat healthy when going to games and tournaments?
Let’s be real. Life in busy sports families means that something has to give.What is that “something” for you?
For many, mealtimes seem to suffer the most neglect. Travel teams and late afternoon or early evening games cut into family meals, leaving little time or energy to prepare healthy dinners.
If you’re crunched for time or if you are simply not home, then the only alternative is to eat out. But that presents another challenge: eating meals that are somewhat healthy and affordable.
I’ve done a little research for you and came up with some healthy options to look for next time you need to grab a quick bite. Keep this article bookmarked for quick reference when you’re on the road!
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be all hamburgers and french fries. You do have choices when deciding how to eat healthy.
Over 1,230 locations nationwide (and in Canada) Panera also won top honors for kid fare, dishing out RD-approved crowd-pleasers like squeezable organic yogurt, PB&J (with all-natural peanut butter), and grilled organic cheese on white whole-grain bread. Order online for quick pickup.
206 locations in the West, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, South. Jason’s is devoted to organic food: About one-fifth of all its ingredients are organic, from blue-corn tortilla chips and whole-wheat wraps to field greens and spinach. Order online to save time.
Au Bon Pain
280 locations nationwide. A pioneer in healthy fast food, Au Bon Pain serves up sandwiches, soups, salads, and hot entrees made with whole grains, veggies, and hormone-free chicken. Order online to save time.
800+ locations nationwide. Order online to save time. Buffet-style Chipotle gives every customer complete control over her burrito, taco, or salad built with fresh, local ingredients. Chipolte won high marks for its commitment to organics, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, and produce sourced from local suppliers, which is revolutionary in a chain this big.
Taco Del Mar
270 locations in 22 states. Baja-style Mexican cuisine with fresh ingredients and fish instead of beef and chicken is a growing trend. Whole grains are easy to get here, with whole-wheat tortillas available as an alternative in burritos. The chain gets high marks for its new 320-calorie chicken burrito, available at most locations.
Chick-fil-A is a fast food restaurant that specializes in chicken sandwiches and the first fast food restaurant in the US to offer a completely trans fat free menu. They have also made great efforts to make their dishes more healthy, especially their kid’s menu, which offers fruit cup sides and milk to drink. And better yet, you can order online ahead of pickup to save time!
Subway is a fast food restaurant that primarily sells sandwiches (subs), and salads. You can choose whole grain bread and include plenty of vegetables in your sub or you can also skip the bread altogether and get a salad with chicken breast and plenty of fresh vegetables. They have over 44,000 restaurants in 110 countries worldwide.
Almost Every Restaurant
These days, almost every restaurant has at least something healthy on the menu. If not, then the meals can usually be modified pretty easily to suit your dietary preferences.Opt for something whole and protein-rich, like steak or fish, then get a side of veggies and perhaps a baked potato.
Take time to read through the menu and you will most likely find something that is healthy, or can be made healthy with simple modifications.
Even the mainstream fast food restaurants are an option if you make the right choices. Here’s some hints for making those choices:
Keeping Costs Down as You Eat Out
Besides looking for healthy foods, the other concern that parents have is the money spent on eating out. Having kids in sports is downright costly and it’s worth the effort for you to find ways to cut costs.
Here’s a few suggestions:
When you are looking at the week ahead, research the area where you will be going to a tournament or game. Choose a handful of restaurants in the area that offer you healthy choices and stick to those places. This doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Spend 5-10 minutes on Google and you can scope out the area.
Yes, looking for coupons takes time, but if you planned ahead and made a list of restaurants, you can search for coupons for them.
One awesome place to get restaurant coupons is restaurant.com. You enter a zip code, select a restaurant and get coupons if the restaurant has them on there.
Here’s some other places:
BeFrugal.com (coupons for 250 restaurants)
Go to specific restaurant sites as well; many of them have coupons available or you can sign up to get them sent to you via email.
What’s your plan?
I think we can all agree that travel ball and even school ball can be expensive investments. Yes, it takes a little extra effort to plan and look for coupons, but the time can result in dollars saved. It’s worth it.
Cost and Food options–these seem to be the biggest concerns of parents trying to feed their kids on the road. What’s your plan for tackling these challenges?
For more on travel teams: