It’s almost Memorial Day -- the unofficial start of summer! Memorial day weekend often means a weekend full of barbecues and party foods (which can be a source of stress or anxiety for many gymnasts).
Its times like these where many gymnasts struggle with an all-or-nothing mindset (where you HAVE to either eat completely "healthy" or eat anything and everything you want but feel out of control). If you are feeling stressed about what to eat at these celebrations, you are not alone. It can feel overwhelming to have so many choices and to be surrounded by fun party foods that you don’t normally eat.
What works for many gymnasts that have a positive and healthy relationship with all foods at these types of events is to find a middle ground, where you can incorporate both nutrient dense foods and fun foods on your plate. By finding this middle ground, you can enjoy all the barbecues and events this coming weekend (and all summer long) without feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
After all, any food can be fuel for your body!
At a barbecue or party, you can still use your Athlete's Plate as a guide, to fuel your body even at an event.
This weekend try building your plate with:
1/4 to 1/3 of your plate from protein
Barbecues usually mean grilling so there are typically tons of protein options such as burgers, hotdogs, grilled chicken, steaks, kebobs, veggie burgers, shrimp, salmon and more!
1/4 to 1/3 of your plate from grains and starches
Barbecue staples that have starches include pasta salad, potato salad, buns, rolls, cornbread, and more!
1/3 to 1/2 of your plate from color
Don’t forget to add some colorful fruits and veggies to your plate! Dishes like corn, coleslaw, grilled veggies, salads, fresh fruit, fruit popsicles, and more are super fresh and delicious this time of year!
1/4 (or whatever feels right to you) of your plate with fun foods!
Don’t forget to have fun as well and enjoy the special treats! There are plenty of foods that we eat every day that are more than just "fuel". Add that cookie or slice of cake to your plate or grab that fun drink. It's important to remember that nutrition (like gymnastics) is all about balance. One food, one meal, or one day will not change your body or your health. You want to look back on celebrations like these and remember the fun times you had with family and friends, not the time you spent worrying about the food.
Memorial Day Recipes
Red white and blue greek yogurt parfait!
There's nothing like a refreshing yogurt parfait on a hot summer day! These easy to make yogurt parfaits are a great snack, breakfast or dessert! Greek yogurt is a rich source of protein and calcium which is great for building up muscle and protecting your bones. The blueberries provide antioxidants (which are anti-inflammatory) and can also support the immune system, giving them an important role in recovery. The strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C which supports your immune system and aids in collagen synthesis which promotes joint and ligament health.
Ingredients: (makes 4 servings)
2 cups plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
2 cups strawberries
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups blueberries
Combine strawberries, honey and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer
Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture has thickened slightly
Remove from the heat and allow to cool
Once cooled, layer each container with strawberry jam, then Greek yogurt, and blueberries
This delicious salad is packed with fresh ingredients to help cool you off on Memorial Day! And this recipe is a great Performance Plate option, since it incorporates grains color, protein, and fats!
For the salad:
1 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 oz. feta, cubed
1 English cucumber, cut into half moons
1 pt. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 avocados, cubed
1 c. chopped Italian parsley
1/2 c. torn basil
1C quinoa, cooked according to package directions, cooled
For the dressing:
1/3 c. olive oil
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 grated garlic clove
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
For the salad: In a large bowl, fold together the chickpeas, feta, cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, avocado, quinoa, parsley, and basil.
For the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes until combined. Pour over the salad and gently fold to combine. Serve immediately.
Recipe inspired by The Pioneer Woman
A family favorite that is packed with fueling ingredients and flavors that everyone at the BBQ will enjoy!
2 Heads of Fresh Broccoli (about 8 cups chopped)
1/3 Cup Diced Red Onion
1/3 Cup Shelled Sunflower Seeds
½ Cup of Craisins
1 package of Bacon (Cooked crispy)
½ Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
For the dressing
1 Cup Mayonnaise or mashed avocado
¼ cup honey or agave nectar
1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
Finely chop broccoli and place in a large bowl.
Add in onions, sunflower seeds, cranberries, cheddar cheese, and crumble bacon. Stir ingredients until everything is well mixed.
To make the dressing, in a medium size bowl combine mayo, honey, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Stir until well mixed.
Pour dressing over broccoli mixture, fold in until everything is evenly coated.
Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.
Recipe inspired by Momma Lew
Greek pasta salad
Pasta salad is a staple at any Memorial Day party! This tasty and colorful Greek pasta salad is loaded with nutrient dense ingredients that taste great!
Ingredients: (6-8 servings)
16 oz. bow tie pasta
1/2 c. olive oil
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 pt. grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. chopped red onion
1 1/2 c. chopped cucumber
1 c. pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/4 c. capers, drained (optional)
1/2 c. chopped fresh herbs, such as mint, dill or parsley
1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and let cool.
Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and dried oregano in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes and red onions, and let sit for 10 minutes. Add the cooled pasta, cucumbers, olives, capers, and herbs. Mix well to combine and dress the pasta.
Top with crumbled feta cheese.
Black bean, corn, and mango salsa!
This easy to make and nutritious salsa is a great appetizer to bring to a Memorial day celebration! Beans are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber, which help keep you full and satisfied and the mango brings a sweet and refreshing surprise!
Ingredients: (10-12 servings)
15 oz. can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 ear of corn, boiled and cut off the cob or 15 oz. can Whole Corn, drained and rinsed
1 jalapeno (seeds removed, finely diced) - can omit
1 Red Bell Pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 Mango, peeled and diced
¼ Red Onion, finely diced
1 cup chopped fresh or drained canned diced tomatoes
¼ Bunch fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 Avocado, diced
Tortilla chips, for serving
For the dressing:
1/4C olive oil
1 Lime, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
pinch of salt
black pepper to taste
Combine the black beans, corn, bell pepper, jalapeño, mango, red onion, tomato, avocado, and cilantro in a large bowl.
To make the dressing, mix the olive oil, juice and zest of 1 lime, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over the salsa and mix until everything is coated.
Serve with tortilla chips or as a delicious topping on tacos, burgers, sandwiches, grilled fish, and more
Grilled steak and vegetables are great on their own, but put them on a stick and it's time to party! Steak is a great source of protein which helps to build and repair muscles. Steak is also a great source of iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. These vitamins support muscle function and help strengthen the immune system!
For the marinade:
1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
1/3 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/3 c. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tbsp. honey, divided
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard, divided
For the kebobs:
1 1/2 lb. sirloin or New York strip, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, large stems removed
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
To make the marinade, whisk together the vinegar, Worcestershire, olive oil, garlic, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon each of the honey and mustard in a medium bowl. Transfer 1/4 cup of the marinade to a small bowl and whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon each honey and mustard to make a glaze. Set the glaze aside.
For the kebabs, add the marinade and the meat to a resealable plastic bag. Seal the bag and massage it gently to coat all of the meat. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours. Remove the meat from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.
If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes prior to skewering and cooking. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (400 to 450°). Thread the meat, mushrooms, onion, and peppers on the skewers, alternating as you like.
Grill the kebabs uncovered until grill marks form, about 4 minutes. Turn the kebabs, and brush the grilled side with half of the glaze. Continue grilling until grill marks form on the bottom side, 3 to 4 minutes more. Turn the kebabs, and brush with the remaining glaze; grill to desired degree of doneness (about 135° for medium), about 1 minute more.
Let kebabs rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley just before serving.
Recipe inspired by The Pioneer Woman
Sausage and rice stuffed peppers
This fun and easy to make meal is packed with protein, fiber, and vitamins to keep gymnasts strong and healthy!
6 large red, orange and/or yellow bell peppers
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. loose sweet Italian pork or turkey sausage (or plant based crumbles)
4 plum tomatoes, diced
2 red onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 c. cooked brown rice (thawed if frozen)
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
Cut the tops off the peppers. Remove and discard the stems, then finely chop the tops; set aside. Scoop out the seeds and as much of the membranes as you can. Place the peppers in a microwave safe bowl, add ½ cup water and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave until just beginning to soften, about 12 minutes, then uncover and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 450˚. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Add the tomatoes, red onions, garlic, Italian seasoning and the chopped pepper tops and cook, stirring, until tender and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes.
Season the mixture with salt and pepper and stir in the sausage and rice. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Place the peppers upright in a baking dish just large enough to hold them. Fill with the rice mixture and bake for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the cheese and continue baking until the cheese is browned in spots, 10 to 12 more minutes.
Grilled chicken wings!
Grilled chicken wings are a great high protein snack, dense in collagen protein! Pair it with some pasta salad and green salad to make it a complete snack or meal!
3 pounds chicken wings, cut apart at joints, wing tips discarded
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup Italian-style salad dressing
Prepare wings: Combine chicken wings, soy sauce, and Italian dressing in a large resealable plastic bag; coat chicken wings with marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator, 4 hours to overnight.
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.
Prepare sauce: Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in hot pepper sauce and soy sauce until combined. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove chicken wings from marinade and pat dry; discard any remaining marinade.
Cook on the preheated grill, turning occasionally, until chicken is browned and no longer pink, 25 to 30 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).
Place grilled wings in a large bowl. Pour butter sauce over wings; toss until well-coated.
Recipe Inspired By All Recipes
Fruit Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing
There is nothing like a refreshing cool and sweet fruit salad on a hot summer day! This fruit salad is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support the immune system and aid in recovery!
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ onion powder
6 tablespoons olive oil
4-½ teaspoons minced fresh basil
1 cup cubbed fresh pineapple
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup sliced peeled kiwi fruit
1 cup seedless watermelon balls
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
Place the lemon juice, sugar, salt, in a blender; cover and pulse until blended. While processing, gradually add oil in a steady stream. Stir in basil.
In a large bowl, combine the fruit. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving.
Rustic cherry pie!
You can’t go wrong with some delicious cherry pie to end the memorial day celebration! Cherries are loaded with polyphenols and vitamin C which have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that every gymnast needs to help with recovery!
12-inch round chilled pie dough
4 cups sweet cherries, stemmed, pitted and halved
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
egg + 1 tablespoon water, beaten together for egg wash
Heat oven to 375-degrees F. Line the baking sheet with baking parchment.
In a bowl, combine cherries, 1/3 cup brown sugar, flour, lemon juice and salt. Using a potato masher or heavy flat bottom glass mash mixture a few times. Set aside.
Place chilled dough round on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place cherry filling onto the center of dough, leaving a 2-inch border around the edge. Fold edge up and over filling, overlapping and creating pleats all the way around.
Brush dough with egg wash. Sprinkle the top of the galette (especially the crust) with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
Bake at 375-F degrees for about 40-50 minutes until the crust is golden brown and done on bottom. Transfer to a wire rack and cool slightly before slicing.
Recipe inspired by She Wears Many Hats