Menu Planning Tips for Feeding Ravenous Teen Athletes

Marcelle - posted on 10/10/2016 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I have two older teen boys who train/complete on average 15+ hours a week. They are ALWAYS hungry. We live a healthy lifestyle, eat well, and I typically cook only one meal for dinner. I've a clever home cook and have no issue finding recipes but I'm looking for a menu strategy to keep my husband and I thin and them growing that is better than "portion control for yourself and more for them". We are already supplementing their intake with healthy shakes, protein bars, tons of fruits and veggies. We know how to eat healthy, what I need to figure out is a weekly menu I can plan around with more volume options that won't keep me in the kitchen for two hours a night.
Are there any other parent's in this situation who have done menu planning with the goal of adding extra "layers" for teens that go beyond keeping grilled chicken and hard boiled eggs on hand 24/7? I'm looking for augmentations that truly add to the meal's nutritional value and taste and don't feel Frankensteined. If I could add 400-700 healthy calories to their dinners it would be a huge win.
Would love to share ideas!

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 10/10/2016

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In my opinion, healthy equals well balanced, Marcelle, so I think you were fairly clear!

I will admit that, when my boys were those ages, I did struggle with the same, but did end up doing the "smaller portions for mom and dad" route.

I am interested in seeing the responses! I do think a pasta bake is a good one. Good luck in figuring this out.

You know, LOL, to offset the food bill, you could compile the suggestions into a "Parents Guide To Cooking For Growing Athletes" book and sell it!

Marcelle - posted on 10/10/2016

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Thanks, Krissy! When I said "healthy" I should have probably clarified "well-balanced" because they still get get plenty of fats and carbs. I'm not restricting them on anything at all since they are both trying to gain weight, I just don't want to dump empty high-fat calories in them (a worse habit to start). They are burned out on pastas and rices but a pasta bake would be a welcome alternative so I'm going to try your recipe! Thanks again!

Krissy - posted on 10/10/2016

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I hate to tell you this but you're doing more harm than good. Both your boys are athletes and you can't just keep them on this healthy kick, you need to have carbs and fats in their meals, not only are they athletes but they're going through their growth spurts, if they're not getting enough from all food groups and are hungry their bodies will be eating away at their muscle tissue because I doubt there's and ounce of fat on their bodies, don't deprive them of important nutrients their bodies need, carbs are a big one, I know I represent as a state athlete, swimmer, triathlete, hockey, basketball, netball, softball and the list goes on, of course they're going to be hungry all the time. How about twice a week you cook a pasta bake and a savoury mince, it's quick simple and easy, you can add foods to taste, it will have carbs, iron, protein and will fill them up, if you don't start giving them what they're lacking they will get it elsewhere and then you'll have no control over their eating habits, which is what you're doing now honey. Here are my simple recipes, I always feed it to my kids, my kids are not beef cakes, normal healthy kids and yes I do let them have junk food on the odd occasion, it won't hurt them, nothing is going to pack on the weight provided it's eaten in moderation, it's not the foods you eat but how much of it you do eat, moderation is the key.

Pasta Bake

Use 500 grams of chicken, mince beef, lamb, pork (healthy and good for the heart)
1 500 gram pack of Penne pasta or spiral
1 small can of tomato paste
1 packet of tomato cup of soup
1 bottle of pasta sauce, I use the dolmio romano cheese
Add vegetables if you wish and herbs to taste

Cook the meat, cook the pasta, remember to wash the pasta under hot water. Put it all into a large mixing bowl, add all other ingredients and mix.
Spray a large baking dish and add all ingredients, cover the top with cheese, place in the oven, wait for the cheese to melt, 15 minutes give to take and it's ready to be served, this meal if done right will serve 8 so you can freeze it to use for another night, my kids will eat it the next night, they love it.

Savoury mince

Use 500 grams to 1 kilo of mince

Gravy, you can find lots of home made recipes on the internet if you don't like to use gravox

Brown it in a frying pan using just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, I always cook my mince meats with water not oil, the natural juices and fats from the meats will
be enough

After browning mince have peas, carrots, beans, corn, potato etc ready to be mixed in.

Mix all foods togeather add gravy, let simmer for 5 minutes and it's ready to be served, you can serve it on rice, pasta or toast or on its own.

Tuna Bake

Another easy simple non time consuming recipe

You'll need

2x 500 gram tuna in spring water
2x 250 gram ready to eat pasta mixes I use alfredo
Cheese to cover.

Cook the pasta,
Add the tuna
Put in baking dish, cover with cheese, heat melt and serve

To you, those food would look like a nightmare but they're not, provided you don't feed these meals to your kids more than 3 times a week it will not pack the weight on them. It's all about moderation, no foods are bad for you, it's not what you eat it's how much you eat of it. You need to supplement the kids with all foods otherwise you're doing more harm than good.

I'm a personal trainer and dietician, these foods have never hurt myself or my kids and they won't hurt yours, or you for that fact, sounds like you could use a few different supplements too Hun. These meals above are quick, easy and inexpensive. Pork is the best of the meats, it's full of iron and is very good for the heart/cardio system.

That's about all I can say to help your family, now it's up to you :)

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