Finding healthy meals can be a challenge, especially when you’re at tournaments on the road or in between games. You can find many healthy options at Noodles and Company for every athlete on your team.
Noodles and Company serves mostly pasta, and offers some surprisingly healthy ingredients that can help you create a well-balanced athlete plate.
Read on for some tips for healthy options at Noodles and Company to fuel your body for optimal performance.
Fueling for game day
Here are some tips for choosing the best options to top of fuel or to refuel:
- Look for carbohydrate-rich pasta dishes. Carbohydrates provide the main source of energy for athletes. So look for dishes that have pasta as the main ingredient.
You can choose from a variety of pasta dishes and types of pasta to make sure you’re loading your muscle glycogen stores.
- Choose tomato-based sauces. Tomato-based sauces are a great choice because they’re lower in fat than cream-based sauces. Look for dishes like Pasta Fresca (online exclusive) or Spaghetti and Meatballs that feature tomato-based sauces.
Add grilled chicken for a leaner protein especially if you’re eating before a game.
- Consider adding a salad. Adding a salad to your meal is a great way to get extra anti inflammatory nutrients and fiber. Noodles and Company offers a variety of salads that you can add to your favorite pasta bowl
- Don’t forget about protein. Protein is important for muscle repair and recovery. Look for dishes that feature grilled chicken, shrimp or tofu like the Japanese Pan Noodles.
You can always ask to swap out a protein for one of these options and make the meal your own.
- Check out the Kids’ Meals. If you’re looking for a smaller portion size when eating between games or for a snack, the Kids’ Meals section of the menu offers some good options. The spaghetti with marinara sauce is a good choice for athletes.
- Build your own pasta bowl. Start with a base of buttered noodles and then top with your favorite lean protein, veggies and tomato based sauce. Vegetables provide vitamins and minerals and have anti inflammatory benefits.
- Add a side of bread. Boost your carbohydrates by adding a baguette to your meal to get the extra top of of energy.
- Get a rice krispy treat to go. The rice krispy treat can come in handy for a quick energy top off prior to the game time or have it ready to go for an after game snack.
- Try the Asian inspired pasta options. Both the Pad Thai and Japanese Pan Noodles could be good options for a pre game or post game fueling performance plate. Consider adding grilled chicken breast to a lean protein option.
Menu items for healthy choices
What to avoid before a game
Before a game you’ll want to avoid any spicy, rich, creamy and cheesy dishes that are high in fat as this will slow digestion and could cause you stomach upset.
Sauces like the tomato rosa and creamy pesto should be avoided as a pre game meal since they contain heavy cream.
Stuffed pastas like the cheese tortellini are also higher in fat and may leave you feeling sluggish come game time.
Additionally, while the zucchini noodles are healthy options, they won’t provide the carbs that you need to fill your muscle energy stores.
If you want to order a zucchini noodle dish ask to add noodles to the dish or order a side of buttered noodles and baguette. A better choice would be to choose the zucchini dish on a rest day when you don’t need as many carbs to fill your plate.
Also, salads have high fiber and are low carb, so won’t provide the fuel you need if you’re only eating a salad. And since fiber takes longer to digest, you may have stomach cramps, diarrhea or bloating.
Final thoughts on healthy options at Noodles and Company
Choosing these healthy options at Noodles and Company can help you fuel your energy stores to get you ready for game time or help you fuel for recovery.
When you’re on the go and in between games, choose carb rich, moderate protein and low healthy fat options.
What’s your favorite item on the menu?
Steph Magill, MS, RD, CD, FAND has over 20 years in public health and nutrition experience. As a performance nutritionist, Stephanie specializes in sports nutrition and provides simple and actionable information so that athletes can be well fueled for high performance on and off the field. Stephanie has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.