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Memorial Day 2024 Fueling Recipes for Gymnasts

Updated: 7 days ago

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

Patriotic Breakfast 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.


  • ¼ cup of Blueberries 

  • ½ cup of Blackberries

  • ½ cup of Strawberries 

  • 1 ½ cups of  Greek yogurt 

  • Drizzle of Honey 

  • ¼ cup of Granola 

  • Optional: Chia seeds, mixed nuts, raisins…


  1. Mix the berries in with the yogurt

  2. Top with granola, any additional toppings, and drizzle of honey 

Berry Brioche French Toast


  • 4 large eggs

  • ⅔ cup of milk 

  • ¼ cup of granulated sugar

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon

  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

  • 8 thick slices of bread (brioche works best) 

  • 1C Vanilla Greek yogurt

  • 2C Mixed berries


  1. Preheat stove top griddle to 350 deg, or heat a skillet over medium heat

  2. Mix the eggs, milk sugar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla in a blender or shallow dish

  3. Dip the bread slices into the mixture, making sure both sides are coated well before placing them on a hot, greased griddle

  4. Cook for a few minutes (until the bottom of the bread turns a golden brown) then flip and cook the other side

  5. Top with a scoop of yogurt, warm syrup, and berries! 

Summer Egg Muffins


  • 9 Large Eggs

  • 1/2C milk

  • 1 diced bell pepper

  • 1/2 C of sliced mushrooms

  • 1/2C finely chopped broccoli

  • 3 chopped up green onions

  • Handful of crumbled feta cheese

  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F

  2. Grease a non-stick muffin tin

  3. Dice vegetables (listed above or of choice) and mix together and put a spoonful in each well of the muffin tin (if you prefer softer vegetables, you can saute the vegetables for a few minutes prior to adding them to the muffin tin). Top with the crumbled cheese

  4. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a medium sized bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste

  5. Pour egg mixture into each well of the muffin tin

  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the eggs are cooked through and set

  7. Allow egg muffins to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing the muffins from the muffin tin and placing on a wire rack to cool


Summer Pasta Salad


  • 3 cups of bowtie or fusilli pasta 

  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes cut in half

  • 1 ½ cups of cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 2 cups of arugula 

  • 1 cup of cucumbers sliced into half moons

  • ½ cup of sliced or whole olives

  • 1 cup of crumbled feta cheese

  • 1 cup of basil leaves, torn

  • ½ cup minced parsley 

  • ½ cup mint leaves, chopped

  • Italian dressing


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare the pasta according to directions on the package

  2. Drain the pasta, toss it with a drizzle of olive oil. Transfer to a large bowl and combine remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Pair with your favorite bottled Italian dressing or mix olive oil, lemon juice, and italian seasoning for a light flavored dressing. 

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad


  • 20 ounces of cheese tortellini, cooked according to package directions

  • 3 cups of cubed, cooked, boneless, skinless chicken breast (cooked or grilled from fresh, leftover, or pulled rotisserie)

  • ⅔ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • ½ cup finely chopped carrots

  • ½ cup finely chopped celery

  • ⅓ cup finely chopped red onion 

  • crumbled bleu cheese

For the Dressing:

  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt

  • ¼ cup milk

  • 2 TBSP hot sauce

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • ¼ tsp sugar


  1. In a large bowl, combine cooked tortellini, cooked chicken, cheddar cheese, carrots, celery, and onion

  2. In a smaller bowl, combine Greek yogurt, milk, hot sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and sugar. Whisk together until all ingredients are combined. 

  3. Right before serving, coat the pasta in all but ¼ cup of dressing (save ¼ to moisten leftovers if needed). Toss salad mix together and coat liberally with dressing. 

  4. Serve with bleu cheese and extra hot sauce if desired.

Broccoli Salad

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


  1. Finely chop broccoli and place in a large bowl.

  2. Add in onions, sunflower seeds, cranberries, cheddar cheese, and crumble bacon. Stir ingredients until everything is well mixed.

  3. To make the dressing, in a medium size bowl combine mayo, honey, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Stir until well mixed.

  4. Pour dressing over broccoli mixture, fold in until everything is evenly coated.

  5. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.

Recipe inspired by Momma Lew

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


  1. Combine the black beans, corn, bell pepper, jalapeño, mango, red onion, tomato, avocado, and cilantro in a large bowl.

  2. 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.

  3. Serve with tortilla chips or as a delicious topping on tacos, burgers, sandwiches, grilled fish, and more

Rainbow Kebabs

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. chicken breast or sirloin, 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

  • Other Vegetables of choice (I love zucchini or other types of squash!)

  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Let kebabs rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley just before serving.

Recipe inspired by The Pioneer Woman

Pulled Pork Sliders


  • 1 medium onion chopped

  • ½ cup ketchup

  • ⅓ cup cider vinegar

  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar

  • ¼ cup tomato paste

  • 2 tablespoon sweet paprika

  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 3 teaspoon salt

  • 1 ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • 2.5 lbs pork butt, cut into 2 pieces

  • 12 slider buns or Hawaiian rolls


  1. Combine all the ingredients except the pork butt and the buns in a slow cooker and mix together with a spoon. Add the 2 pieces of pork and cover in the slow cooker. Set for 8 hours on low.

  2. After 8 hours, using 2 forks, shred the pork (removing any bones) and mix into the sauce in the pot

  3. Toast the slider buns and add some of the pulled pork to each bun. Top with some pickles, red onions, cole slaw, or toppings of choice

Strawberry Yogurt Tubes


  • 2 cups of fresh strawberries (or other berry of your choice)

  • 1 ¼ cup of Vanilla Greek Yogurt 

  • ¼ cup of milk (of choice)

  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

  • ¼ cup of local honey


  • Blend berries in a food processor until they are about 80% of the way blended

  • Add in yogurt, vanilla extract, milk, and honey. Continue to blend until it reaches a smooth consistency

  • Funnel mixture into plastic sleeves and seal 

  • Lay yogurt tubes on a baking sheet (sealed!) and put in the freezer for 3-6 hours

  • Thaw yogurt tubes out for 5-10 minutes before serving - enjoy! 

Recipe adapted from A Paige of Positivity

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

  • Dash pepper

  • 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


  1. 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.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the fruit. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving.

Berry Cobbler


For the Berry Filling:

  • 6 cups of your favorite frozen berries (a blueberry and strawberry mixture tastes great!)

  • 2 tbsp of cornstarch

  • ½ cup cane sugar 

  • 1 lemon, juiced

For the Biscuit Topping:

  • 1 stick of butter

  • 1 ½ cups of all purpose flour

  • 1 cup of cane sugar

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • ½ cup of unsweetened almond milk (can use any milk)

  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  2. In a mixing bowl, combine berries. Use a juice press to juice one lemon in the bowl. Toss the berries in sugar and cornstarch. Gently mix together until the sugar and cornstarch are absorbed. 

  3. In a separate mixing bowl, melt the butter in 20 second intervals in the microwave

  4. Add in flour, sugar, baking powder, and vanilla extract to the butter. Mix until you have a sugar cookie-like consistency (best to use a stand mixer, but can be done by hand)

  5. Slowly pour the milk into the bowl with the dough mixture. The end product should be similar to a muffin or pancake batter

  6. Grease a casserole dish. Pour the berries into the dish first, then pour in the biscuit mixture on top. Try to cover all of the berries with the biscuit batter

  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the batter comes out clean when poked with a fork or toothpick. The biscuit topping should be a golden brown color

  8. Enjoy with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream!

Recipe adapted from A Paige of Positivity

Frozen Strawberry Lemonade 


  • 1 cup of frozen strawberries (raspberries would be delicious too!)

  • 24 oz of your favorite lemonade

  • 8 oz of a lemon lime soda

  • 1 lemon (juiced)

  • Splash of grenadine 

  • Handful of ice cubes (add periodically until you’ve reached your desired consistency)


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

  2. Pour into a cup to enjoy! 


Kerry Bair, RD, LDN, MPH

The Gymnast RD

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