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Back to School (?) Lunches

Going back to school will look different this year for many gymnasts. Between going to school, learning from home or in pods at the gym, our gymnasts need our support now more than ever. And just because things are uncertain doesn't mean gymnast lunches need to suffer!

Lunch is an important fueling opportunity for all gymnasts for getting enough energy and nutrients in! For those practicing in the morning, it serves as the first opportunity to refuel. For those practice in the afternoon or evening, lunch will help energize the long practice ahead.

Lunch, just like all other meals, should follow The Athlete's Plate!

A gymnast's fueling lunch should have

  • Energizing Starch

  • Powerful Protein

  • Colorful Fruits & Veggies

  • Healthy Fats

  • Hydration

Weather they're eating at home or out of the house, getting a fueling lunch on the table may take a little planning, like making a shopping list, having grab-and-go options available, and making some foods ahead of time, as well as maybe some Covid-specific considerations (like no-refrigeration, disposable utensils, or extra cleaning supplies).

**Also Remember Food Safety: Most perishable foods / pre-cooked foods can only stay out for 2 hours before they're no longer safe to eat. Items like yogurt and squeeze pouches can be *frozen* to help keep foods cold. You can make disposable ice packs to help with this.


10 Easy Lunch Ideas (For Any School Plan)

  1. Nut Butter and Sliced Apple (or banana) Quesadilla – Spread your favorite nut butter on a whole wheat tortilla, top with fruit slices and fold in half. Serve with water, low fat milk, or 100% fruit juice and a string cheese.

  2. Mexican Chicken Pita – Fill whole wheat pita with grilled or baked chicken pieces, lettuce, 2 Tbsp. shredded cheese and salsa. Serve with low-fat yogurt, orange slices, & water.

  3. Turkey Pretzel Wrap – Place 2–3 oz. turkey, avocado slices (or a guac cup) and pretzel sticks in a whole wheat wrap. Serve with baby carrots, cherry tomatoes & ranch for dipping and water, low fat milk, or 100% fruit juice.

  4. Salmon Salad Pita – Mix salmon (from pouch, can, or leftover) with plain Greek yogurt and chopped celery and put in a whole wheat pita. Serve with baby carrots and grapes and water, low fat milk, or 100% fruit juice.

  5. Pizza Rollups – On a whole wheat tortilla, spread tomato sauce and top with ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, turkey pepperoni, & favorite veggies like peppers or baby spinach. Roll and slice into pieces. Serve with bell pepper sticks and hummus and water, low fat milk, or 100% fruit juice.

  6. Ricotta Cheese Sandwich – Spread 2T ricotta cheese with chopped peppers and cucumber slices on whole wheat bread. Serve strawberries and water, low fat milk, or 100% fruit juice.

  7. Egg Salad and Veggie Pita – Mix a sliced hard-boiled egg with plain Greek yogurt, chopped bell peppers, tomatoes and shredded carrots in whole wheat pita. Serve with graham crackers, apple slices and water, low fat milk, or 100% fruit juice.

  8. Dipping Day – Make a plate of whole wheat crackers, baby carrots, celery + nut butter or hummus, fresh salsa, or guacamole. Serve with Greek yogurt, dried fruit, and water, low fat milk, or 100% fruit juice.

  9. Hummus Rollups – On whole wheat tortilla, spread 2 Tbsp. hummus, baby spinach leaves and shredded carrots. Roll and slice into pieces. Serve with string cheese, a cup of mixed fruit and water, low fat milk, or 100% fruit juice.

  10. Yogurt Parfait – Layer vanilla greek yogurt with chopped fresh fruit, granola or cereal, nuts, and seeds. Seve with and water, low fat milk, or 100% fruit juice.

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Kerry Bair, RD, LDN, MPH

The Gymnast RD

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