Keeping your athletic performance at its optimal level requires a combination of factors. After your hard work at the gym, the next most important thing is healthy and balanced nutrition.
An athlete needs to consume enough macronutrients, namely carbohydrates, protein, and fat, and micronutrients, which are vitamins and minerals. Besides, your diet will be different from what an average person needs in a day, considering more frequent physical activity.
Before we move on to our list of dinner ideas, let’s discuss what makes a suitable evening meal for an athlete. It will help you customize your dinners.
Also, don’t think that you are the only one who often lacks time for cooking. A lot of student athletes find it difficult to cook full, balanced meals because they simply don’t have enough time after school and gym. Doing anything but studying is especially daunting if you approach your dissertation due date.
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The key factor of your diet is a macronutrient ratio. According to the International Sports Sciences Association, a healthy adult needs :
- 45-65% carbs
- 20-35% fat
- 10-35% protein
Yet, you can adjust this ratio based on your physical activity. For example, athletes should increase their carbohydrate intake to 70%. This is because you need to support high levels of glucose necessary for intense training.
With this ratio in mind, we hand-picked a list of meals that are perfect for student athletes. The 12 simple and delicious dinners below will serve your training needs and support your health.
- 1. Low-Fat Turkey Bolognese
- 2. Falafel With Roasted Vegetables
- 3. Oat Toast With Tuna
- 4. Turkey-Avocado Wrap
- 5. Greek Yogurt With Granola
- 6. Grilled Chicken and Kimchi Salad
- 7. Creamy Spinach Salmon
- 8. Apple and Cinnamon Protein Parfait
- 9. Pasta with Shrimp, Pesto, and Tomatoes
- 10. Curried Chicken Wrap
- 11. Burgers with Turkey and Sweet Potato
- 12. Tofu and Broccoli Stir Fry
- The Bottom Line
1. Low-Fat Turkey Bolognese
Cook tasty pasta but swap beef for turkey. It is low-fat and an excellent source of protein and micronutrients such as B-complex vitamins. Don’t forget to add your favorite vegetables like carrots, onions, and salary. Add some fresh herbs for an extra boost of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Iron.
2. Falafel With Roasted Vegetables
This dish comes together easily. Thanks to its ingredients—chickpeas, herbs, and spices—falafel is rich in plant-based protein, fiber, and various micronutrients. The same applies to roasted vegetables. In combination, this dinner will give you many amazing health benefits.
3. Oat Toast With Tuna
This is an option for those students who don’t want to spend much time cooking. Maximize your post-workout protein intake with some creamy tuna. Whole grain oat toasts will give you the necessary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You can also swap bread for crackers.
4. Turkey-Avocado Wrap
To make this healthy wrap, take some sliced turkey, avocado, lettuce, and whole-grain tortillas. You’ll get a huge boost of Vitamins C, E, K, and B6, folate, pantothenic acid, and potassium, and this is from avocado alone.
Lettuce adds Vitamins C and A. It is also rich in antioxidants that you need to help your body recover after long and exhausting training.
5. Greek Yogurt With Granola
Your body needs complex carbs to sustain energy and promote muscle growth. There are plenty of them in granola. In turn, Greek yogurt benefits your bone and gut health. It will also support your muscle recovery after working out. Finally, it is simply delicious.
6. Grilled Chicken and Kimchi Salad
Chicken breasts are a perfect source of lean protein. Grilled, well-seasoned, and combined with a kimchi salad, they become a perfect dinner for the physically active.
Kimchi is so easy to cook. You’ll need to combine shredded cabbage with some carrot, vinegar, and vegetable oil. Add sesame oil and seeds to taste. The nutritional profile of the salad is fantastic. In addition to a huge range of vitamins and minerals, it has a powerful antioxidant compound to reduce inflammation in your body and relieve sore muscles.
7. Creamy Spinach Salmon
Just a handful of ingredients, and you get this tasty dinner. Cook some garlic and spinach in a frying pan. For some extra flavor, add some lemon juice and seasoning. Then bake the dish with salmon filets. You can serve it with spring greens or sweet potato mash.
8. Apple and Cinnamon Protein Parfait
It is crucial to consume protein after working out. If you hit the gym close to dinner time, consider having a protein-rich dish right after it. It will reduce post-training pains and help your muscles heal.
If you have a sweet tooth and want to have a tasty dessert for dinner, a vanilla parfait is an amazing option. You can cook it in no time and enjoy this amazing meal. It is loaded with calcium, potassium, and Vitamin B12.
How to prepare it? You’ll need only four ingredients. Mix ½ cup of Greek yogurt and ½ cup of granola. Then, add a diced apple and some cinnamon. And done!
9. Pasta with Shrimp, Pesto, and Tomatoes
A meal like this one is always a win. This simple dinner for student athletes includes only four ingredients, but you get a dish full of flavor as a result. Simply cook shrimp while your pasta is boiling. When they are ready, mix everything together, adding some pesto sauce and tomatoes. It won’t take you more than 20 minutes, and a nutritious dinner is served!
10. Curried Chicken Wrap
This flavor-packed meal with a crusty texture and a variety of colors would be wonderful as dinner for a student athlete. Besides, it couldn’t be easier to make, especially if you have some leftover roast chicken.
Grab soft tortillas. Mix cooked chicken breasts with greek yogurt, curry paste, and lettuce. Wrap them up. You can also add your favorite veggies, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, and any other ingredients you have at hand.
11. Burgers with Turkey and Sweet Potato
Are you tired of common turkey recipes? Try a delicious combination of it with sweet potato. Mash cooked sweet potato with ground turkey. Don’t forget to add olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste. Mold your patties and cook them on the stove or in the oven.
12. Tofu and Broccoli Stir Fry
Tofu and broccoli stir fry is a delicious vegan recipe. It is incredibly easy to cook as you have only two main ingredients. You can also add the zingy ginger sauce. The stir fry will become a great addition to your workout diet and support your health.
The Bottom Line
So there you have it—12 dinner ideas for student athletes. Not only are they delicious, but they are also rich in macro- and micronutrients necessary for you to perform at your best. The right meals for dinner will prevent fatigue, enable you to train more productively, and improve your recovery.