As athletes, Ashton and my number one priority, when we weren’t training, was our diet; eating healthy, whole foods. Okay that’s a lie, it was my number one priority, Ashton just benefited from it. Regardless, our days pretty much revolved around food: (these are Ashton statements)
What should I have for breakfast?
Will practice be long? Will you pack me a snack?
Does Europe have peanut butter yet? Maybe you should pack some.
Look up the closest healthy food restaurant around here.
I’m hungry! I need to eat, NOW!
When we were newbies to this life, we’d often just stop at whatever place we could find and grab a quick bite. But I started to quickly realize that our diet had a huge impact on our performance, and if we wanted to compete well, I needed to make more of an effort with our nutrition, because Ashton was too busy playing video games. Okay, okay, enough making fun of him! (but seriously!) So I started to get more organized and pack snacks and lunches to bring with us everywhere. I even went as far as to pack food for 16 hours of air travel because I didn’t want us to be eating that nasty plane food. In hindsight, I should have been making the most of the free food offered by the Delta Sky Club lounges. After all, that is one of the perks that made me decide the American Express Platinum card was the right one for me. Before committing to the card, I found all the information I needed and more at Nova Credit.
While we don’t have to be so strict with our diets anymore, I do find myself still packing snacks for us when we’re busy or away from home because I know how important it is to take care of our health and bodies. They did so much for us as athletes; allowed us to chase our goals and do what we love, and they’ll continue to do so much for us in the future.
I hope that’s motivating because what I’m going to tell you next requires effort and organization. I’m not going to provide you with a personal chef to plan and make all of your snacks and meals for you. If you want to to eat healthy, you have to do it yourself. So stop searching the web for that “secret” formula to eating healthy that doesn’t require any effort. It doesn’t exist (unless you’re Ashton and you have a type A, crazy wife who’s obsessed with it).
Below are some of our favorite, on-the-go, high protein snack and lunch ideas that we used all the time as athletes and are still hooked on. There are loads of different protein snacks that you can get though, so you’ll easily find your favourite one. If you don’t know where to begin though, then you might want to take a look at something like Protein Hunter just to give you a better idea of what else is out there. What I like, might be different for you. Maybe you’re someone who prefers a protein cookie instead of smoothie. Either way, we’re all different and whatever way you choose to have your protein intake, it’s up to you. I will note that I’m super laid back when it comes to refrigerating stuff. I’ll throw a turkey sandwich in my bag and leave it unrefrigerated until I eat it at lunch. If this worries you, you probably won’t like my plan.
Greek Yogurt & Berries
This one might be okay for those worried about refrigeration. I take frozen berries and put them in a tupperware with about 1/2 a cup of plain, full fat Greek yogurt. I’ll sometimes top it with muesli also, which adds fiber and whole grains to keep you full for longer. This snack = 14g protein
I feel like this is nothing new. We all go to the store and buy granola bars because they’re super easy to take on-the-go. I sometimes do this, but most of the time I like to make my own because it’s so much better. Stay tuned! I have a new protein bar recipe coming soon that packs 15g of protein per bar!
Apple w/ Almond Butter
I don’t cut the apple because I don’t want it to get brown. When I’m ready to eat it, I’ll cut it up, or I’ll just be totally lazy (which is most of the time) and take a bite of the apple followed by a bit of almond butter. 2-3 tbsp almond butter = 10g protein
Oh the classic beef jerky. This was our NUMBER ONE snack during heptathlons and decathlons. And you don’t need to worry about using it as soon you buy it either because how long does beef jerky last? Like 2 years? Every jerky is different but you know it’s got a long shelf life! For some reason, I just couldn’t tolerate sandwich meat while I was competing but needed to get protein in somehow. This was my go to. Turns out it’s also great to throw in your purse/bag and take on a road trip or airplane. A couple of pieces = 15g protein.
If I need to grab something fast and easy to eat, especially while driving, almonds are an easy thing. I typically soak mine for added health benefits and better taste (a post coming on this soon!). 1/4 cup = 8g protein
Balsamic Hummus Veggie Dippers
I love this to throw in my purse if I’m going out for the day because I just have to open the lid and start eating. Plus I like that it incorporates veggies, something that none of us eat enough of. You can find my Balsamic Hummus recipe HERE. 4 tbsp = 5g protein
Another competition favorite. I typically try to get a kind with unsweetened dried fruit in it instead of chocolate pieces. I love the 365 Cape Code trail mix with almonds, cashews and cranberries. 1/2 cup = 6g protein
Okay so I know these aren’t super high protein or anything, but you all know I like fitting in more veggies. To make these just rinse some kale and dry. Mix with olive oil until lightly coated. Spread out on a cookie sheet, and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in 350 degree F oven until crispy, about 10 minutes.
Chicken Salad Sandwich
If you don’t like mayo, you may as well ignore this one. Right now I’m hooked on Costco’s canned chicken. I don’t know what it is about it, but it’s SO good!!! Mix it with some mayo and mustard and serve on bread, with crackers, or just eat it plain right out of your tupperware. 1/2 can = 23g protein
For any vegans/vegetarians, this is my favorite wrap. Take some hummus (again, my Zesty Balsamic Hummus HERE) and spread it on a sprouted grain wrap. Add some sliced cucumbers, peppers, avocado, and top with some broccoli sprouts and wrap!
I call it this because this is what we ate ALL THE TIME on airplanes because we didn’t want to eat the airplane food. I would put oatmeal mixtures (oats, ground chia, flaxseed, dried apple chips, sliced almonds, protein powder, and a tiny bit of coconut sugar) in ziplock bags. When the flight attendant came around, we’d ask for cups and hot water. Voilà!
This is an Ashton thing… He takes a bunch of different stuff: boiled eggs, grapes, almond butter, apple, cheese, crackers, etc. and puts it in a tupperware and has a little mix and match picnic. He calls it a “protein board”.
Quinoa & Beet Salad
Love this salad. Take some greens, cooked (cooled) quinoa, cooked beets, goat cheese, pecans and top it with homemade balsamic vinaigrette. To make vinaigrette: In a small glass jar, combine 1.5 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard, 1/2 clove minced garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper and 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. I usually put the salad in a tupperware and throw the small glass jar in the tupperware. When I’m ready to eat, I shake the little jar and pour it over the salad.
Strawberry Spinach Salad w/ Salmon
This is perfect, especially if you have left over salmon from the night before. Lay a bed of spinach, sliced strawberries, goat cheese, pecans and salmon and top with balsamic vinaigrette (see above).
I love leftovers because it means I don’t have to make anything new. Pack your left over healthy dinner you had from the night before.
There you have it! Nothing extraordinary or life-changing. Just super simple high-protein snacks that we enjoy. If you have any great go-to’s, please share them in the comments section below. Happy back to school season!