Team Dinners: Fuel Your Team’s Nutrition for Peak Performance


If you are a soccer player, parent or a coach of a sports team, you know how important it is for athletes to eat well. Nutritious and delicious team dinners can make a big difference in their performance, recovery and health.

They’re also important for team building.

But how do you plan and prepare a team dinner that is easy, affordable and satisfying for everyone?

In this blog post, we will share some tips and tricks on how to fuel your team with nutritious and delicious dinners and meet soccer player diet goals

We will also give you some examples of healthy and balanced meal ideas that you can try for your next team event. 

Whether you are hosting a team dinner at home, at the field, or at a restaurant, we have you covered. 

Read on and learn how to make your team dinners a success!

easy team dinners

Why nutrition matters for team dinners

Nutrition is an important factor for athletic performance, recovery and health. Eating the right types of foods can help athletes perform at their best. (1)

Good team dinners can also:

  • Boost their energy levels and endurance
  • Prevent dehydration and muscle cramps
  • Repair and build muscle tissue
  • Reduce inflammation and soreness
  • Support their immune system and prevent illness

What makes healthy team dinners

Healthy and nutritious team dinners should provide a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Use the performance plate method to make sure you’ve got the right nutrients to meet energy needs for pre game or recovery. 

If you’re planning team dinners for the night before a game, make sure to follow the game day performance plate to ensure muscles are properly fueled and hydrated.

How to plan nutritious team dinners

Planning nutritious team dinners does not have to be complicated or expensive. You can use a slow cooker, grill, oven or stovetop to prepare large batches of food quickly and easily.

Here are some simple tips to follow:

  • Plan ahead. Decide on the date, time, location, budget and menu of your team dinner. Ask your teammates if they have any allergies or dietary restrictions that you need to consider. 
  • Choose a main dish that includes a lean protein source (such as chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs) and a complex carbohydrate source (such as brown rice, whole grain pasta, potatoes, quinoa, beans).
  • Add some colorful vegetables or salad to your main dish to boost the vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and fiber content of your meal. Try fresh or frozen vegetables, or make a simple salad with greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and dressing.
  • Provide some healthy fat sources (such as avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, cheese) as toppings or sides for your main dish. These will add flavor, texture, and satiety to your meal.
  • Serve some fruit or yogurt as dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding too much sugar or calories to your meal. You can also make some fruit salad, smoothies or parfaits with granola and honey.
  • Provide some water or low-fat milk as drinks to keep your teammates hydrated and replenish their fluids and electrolytes. 
tips for planning team dinners

Meal ideas for team dinners

Pasta bar

A pasta bar is a great way to provide a variety of carb options, including gluten free carbs, while also allowing each athlete to customize their plate.

Offer a variety of pasta shapes and types (whole wheat, gluten-free), sauces (marinara, pesto), and toppings (grilled chicken, shrimp, veggies).

Baked potato bar

A baked potato bar is a fun and easy way to provide a nutritious meal for a large group. Offer a variety of toppings like cheese, broccoli, salsa, and chili. For added protein, include options like pulled pork or chicken.

Slow cooker ideas

A slow cooker is an easy way to prepare a hot, nutritious meal. Try making a chili or stew with lean meat, beans and lots of veggies. Or, for a healthy twist on mac and cheese, use whole wheat pasta and add in some veggies like cauliflower or spinach.

Serve with cornbread, rolls and salad or veggies.

Sandwich bar

A sandwich bar is a classic option that is always a crowd-pleaser. Offer a variety of whole grain breads, deli meats like turkey or ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato and condiments like mustard, mayo, guacamole and hummus.

You can also offer veggie options like roasted eggplant or portobello mushrooms.

Sandwich wraps

If you want to switch it up from traditional sandwiches, offer sandwich wraps. Use whole grain wraps and fill them with lean protein like grilled chicken or turkey, veggies like lettuce, tomato, and cucumber and low-fat cheese.

You can also offer a veggie option with hummus and roasted veggies.

Hearty salads

Salads are a great way to pack in a variety of nutrients. Offer a base of greens like spinach or kale, and add in a variety of veggies like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers.

Top it off with lean protein like grilled chicken or tofu, and a light dressing like vinaigrette. Add whole grains like quinoa and brown rice, beans and whole grain rolls to boost carbohydrates.

Pasta salads

Pasta salads are a great option for a cold, refreshing meal. Use whole grain pasta and a lean protein like grilled chicken. Then add in a variety of veggies like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and olives. Top it off with a light dressing like Italian or balsamic vinaigrette.

Baked chicken and veggies

If you have access to an oven, try baking chicken and veggies for a hearty meal. Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts and add in a variety of colorful veggies like sweet potatoes, broccoli, and bell peppers.

Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake in the oven until cooked through.


Layer pasta, protein-rich ground beef, turkey or plant based meat and calcium-rich cheese. Lasagna offers a good source of complex carbohydrates, protein and color that makes a balanced performance plate.

Additionally, by adding colorful veggies like spinach or mushrooms, you can increase the nutrient density and fiber content.

Whether you make it from scratch or buy a pre-made option, lasagna is a hearty and satisfying meal that everyone enjoys.

team dinners, homemade lasagna

Rice bowl bar

Starting with a base of brown rice or quinoa, you can add a variety of protein options like grilled chicken, tofu, egg or shrimp, along with colorful veggies like broccoli, bell peppers or avocado.

Top it off with a flavorful sauce and your favorite garnishes like cilantro or crushed peanuts.

Final thoughts

With options like a sandwich bar, sandwich wraps, salads, pasta salads and baked chicken and veggies, you can provide nutritious and satisfying team dinners.

Remember to focus on offering a variety of carbs, protein and colorful fruits and vegetables, adjusting the amounts to meet your performance plate needs.

Check out our other post on dinner meal ideas for athletes.

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