Meal Plan for Teenage Athletes: 7 Days of Fueling


If you are a teenage athlete, you know how challenging it can be to balance your busy schedule with your nutrition needs. Having ideas for a meal plan for teenage athletes can help you maintain a consistent and nutritious diet.

However, eating well is not only important for your health and growth, but also for your energy levels and performance. That’s why having a meal plan for teenage athletes can help you stay on track with your goals and fuel your body with the right foods.

In this comprehensive guide, we will show you a 7-day meal plan for teenage athletes that is tailored to your unique needs and preferences. 

Do you want to perform at your best in school, sports and life? Read on for more.

meal plans for teenage athletes cover page

Teenage challenge: on the go and busy schedules

As a teenage athlete, you may find it hard to fit in regular meals and snacks into your busy day.

You may have to wake up early, rush to school, train after school and then want to hang out with your friends or do homework. Sometimes, you may skip meals or grab whatever is available, which may not be the best option for your health and performance.

However, having a meal plan for teenage athletes and sticking to it can make fueling easier and more convenient.

Balanced performance plate for meal plan for teenage athletes

Before diving into the 7-day meal plan, it’s essential to grasp the concept of a balanced performance plate. This plate should include carbs, protein, healthy fats and color.

However, you’ll need to adjust the amount of nutrients on your performance plate depending on your activity and energy needs.

Here are the basic building block nutrients for a meal plan for teenage athletes

  • Carbohydrates: These are the body’s primary energy source. Opt for whole grains and high fiber like brown rice, oats, quinoa or whole wheat pasta.
  • Proteins: Vital for muscle repair and growth, lean sources like chicken, turkey, fish and plant-based options like tofu or legumes are excellent choices.
  • Healthy fats: These provide long-lasting energy. Avocado, nuts, seeds and olive oil are great sources.
  • Vegetables: Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, colorful veggies like broccoli, carrots and spinach should make up a significant portion of the plate.
  • Fruits: Natural sugars and antioxidants come from fruits like berries, apples and oranges.
list of energy sources to fuel athletes, carbohydrates, protein and fats, meal planning for teenage athletes

Importance of breakfast for teens: fueling your day

One of the most common mistakes that teenage athletes make is skipping breakfast. You may think that you are saving time or calories by doing so, but you are actually doing yourself a disservice.

Breakfast is the first step in providing your body with the energy it needs to power through the day. A nutritious breakfast kickstarts your daily fueling and helps you stay focused in school and during training.

Without breakfast, you may feel tired, hungry, irritable and less productive.

list of important reasons to eat breakfast, breakfast is part of the meal plan for teenage athletes

Spread energy intake throughout the day for teen meals

Another important aspect of nutrition for teenage athletes is to spread your energy intake throughout the day.

This means having balanced meals and snacks to prevent energy crashes and ensure optimal performance. One substantial meal can’t make up for missed nutrition.

So you should start your day with breakfast and then have meals and snacks planned throughout the day to meet your energy needs.

Prepping foods for athletes

One of the challenges that athletes face is finding the time and energy to prepare healthy and balanced meals and snacks. Prepping foods in advance can help save time, money and hassle and ensure that you always have something nutritious to eat.

Tips on how to prep foods using an athlete grocery list

Plan your meals and snacks

Using our meal plan for teenage athletes guide, plan your meals and snacks for the week. Consider your training schedule, preferences and goals when making your plan.

Also, our grocery list for athletes is a guide to stock up on the foods you need from each food group: carbs, protein, fat, fruits and vegetables.

Prep your foods

Choose one or two days a week to do your food prep. This could be on the weekend or on a rest day. Set aside a few hours to cook, chop, portion and store your foods for the week.

When you prep foods ahead of time, make sure to have different sizes of containers and bags to make storing and freezing easy.

1. Cook your proteins, grains and starches in bulk

Bake, grill, roast or slow-cook your chicken, turkey, beef, fish or tofu and then divide them into individual portions to store. You can also hard-boil eggs or make egg muffins for easy breakfasts or snacks.

Cook oatmeal, rice, quinoa, pasta, potatoes or sweet potatoes and then store them in the fridge or freezer.

2. Wash and chop your fruits and vegetables

You can wash and chop your fruits and vegetables and store them in ziplock bags or containers in the fridge. You can also make salads or stir-fries and keep them in the fridge for a few days.

Additionally, freeze some fruits and vegetables for smoothies or soups.

3. Make your own sauces, dressings and dips

You can also make your own sauces, dressings and dips using ingredients like yogurt, hummus, salsa, pesto, peanut butter, honey, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, herbs and spices.

Store them in small jars or containers in the fridge and use them to add flavor and moisture to your meals and snacks.

4. Portion your snacks

Make your snacking easy by portioning your snacks into small bags or containers and keep them handy in your pantry, fridge or backpack. Some examples of snacks are nuts, seeds, dried fruits, granola bars, cheese sticks, yogurt cups, crackers, popcorn or trail mix.

Person chopping zucchini, tomatoes and red peppers, meal prep for athlete meal plan

7 day meal plan for teenage athletes guide

Our 7 day meal plan for teenage athletes guide provides you with basic ideas for you to follow to help you meet your energy needs for activity and life.

When you follow this teen athlete meal plan, you’ll eat balanced meals that include protein, carbs color and healthy fats.

Also, you can mix and match meal ideas to meet your energy needs. You can also check out some of our other posts on dinner ideas, breakfast, lunch and healthy snacks for even more ideas.

Day 1Scrambled eggs with spinach, whole-grain toast and mixed berriesGrilled chicken breast, quinoa salad with cucumber, bell peppers, and feta and, almondsBaked salmon with lemon-dill sauce, steamed broccoli, brown riceTrail mix with nuts, seeds, dried fruits, low fat Greek yogurt, hummus and veggies
Day 2Greek yogurt with honey, sliced bananas, whole-grain granolaTurkey and avocado whole-grain wrap, carrot sticks with hummus. Serve with a side of sliced appleBeef stir-fry with mixed vegetables, brown riceGreek yogurt with berries, carrots with hummus, cottage cheese and peaches
Day 3Peanut butter and banana smoothie with oats, whole-grain toastLentil soup, whole-grain roll, sliced pineappleGrilled shrimp skewers, quinoa salad (cherry tomatoes, black beans and corn)Apple slices with almond butter, whole grain crackers and cheese sticks, hardboiled egg and grapes
Day 4Breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, black beans, salsa, avocado and cheese and side of mixed berriesGrilled chicken skewers, wild rice, sliced bell peppers with hummusShrimp and orzo salad with tomato, feta cheese, arugula.Fig bar and string cheese, trail mix, banana with nut butter
Day 5Whole-grain pancakes with fresh berries, and low-fat milkMarinated tempeh with mixed greens, pepitas, feta, chickpeas, vinaigrette dressing, whole-grain pita wedgesGrilled chicken thighs with barbecue glaze, sweet potato wedges, sautéed green beansPretzels with hummus, hardboiled egg and sliced apples, applesauce and string cheese
Day 6Oatmeal with sliced bananas, chopped nuts, high protein milk,
and orange juice
Veggie wrap with hummus, avocado, bell peppers, cucumbers and
spinach in a whole-grain tortilla, sliced mango
Baked cod with citrus-herb marinade, quinoa pilaf with mixed leafy green saladRoasted chickpeas, cottage cheese and pineapple, string cheese and whole grain crackers
Day 7Scrambled tofu with diced tomatoes, spinach, whole-grain toastChickpea and vegetable curry, brown rice, pineapple chunksBeef and broccoli stir-fry, steamed jasmine riceTrail mix (nuts, seeds, dried fruits) or a banana
Three pictures of meals, rice bowl, chicken breast and veggies and steak with mushroom, potatoes and greens

A day in the life of a teen athlete – fueling example

Below is an example of how a teen schedule might look. If you have practice right after school, follow this guide below making adjustments for your school schedule times.

However, if you have a late evening practice, you’ll want to eat a smaller dinner or mini meal prior to practice and then a hearty recovery snack before bed.

7:00 am (Wake-up)

  • Drink at least 8 oz of water first thing, then continue drinking water throughout the day

7:30 am (Breakfast)

  • Low-fat Greek yogurt topped with a mix of fresh blueberries, raspberries, a drizzle of honey and high fiber granola. Side of whole grain toast with peanut butter.
  • Overnight oats topped with chia seeds, chopped apples, cinnamon
  • Toaster waffles, nut butter and banana
  • High fiber smoothie with high protein milk, fruit, chia seeds

10:30 am (Mid-morning snack to eat between classes)

  • String cheese, orange or whole grain crackers
  • Apple slices and nut butter
  • Hummus and carrots

12:30 pm (Lunch)

  • Burrito bowl with chicken and rice
  • Turkey sandwich with cheddar, guacamole, tomato on whole grain bread
  • Quinoa salad with roasted veggies, feta and vinaigrette
  • Tofu and veggie wrap with hummus and avocado

3:45 pm (Pre-practice snack)

  • Get energized for practice with a pre-workout snack:
    • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
    • Applesauce and trail mix
    • Hummus and whole grain crackers
    • String cheese and crackers

5:00 pm (Practice/Training/Game)

7:00 pm (Dinner)

  • Grilled salmon, roasted sweet potatoes, side of roasted cauliflower
  • Chicken skewers, brown rice, roasted broccoli
  • Pesto pasta with shrimp, peas and feta
  • Buddha bowl with tofu, veggies and brown rice

9:30 pm (Late evening snack)

  • Cottage cheese and peaches
  • Low fat greek yogurt with berries
  • Frozen yogurt with fresh fruit
  • Bowl of cereal and high protein milk
image showing text of day in the life of an athlete example, what foods to eat and what time.

Why you don’t need additional supplements

As a teenage athlete, you may be tempted to take additional supplements to enhance your performance, health or appearance. 

However, you should know that most supplements are not necessary, effective or safe for your age group. 

You can get all the nutrients you need from food. A balanced diet that includes a variety of whole foods can provide you with enough carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals to support your growth, development and performance. 

Food also contains other beneficial substances that supplements can’t replicate, such as fiber, phytochemicals and antioxidants

Also, food is more enjoyable, satisfying and affordable than supplements.

Final thoughts

Our 7-day meal plan recognizes the challenges of being a busy teenage athlete. It emphasizes the importance of never skipping breakfast and spreading energy intake throughout the day. 

By following this plan, you can maintain their energy levels, support their growth, and perform at your best while navigating your demanding schedules. 

Don’t forget to adjust portion sizes based on individual needs, and stay hydrated to stay at the top of your game!

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