15 Make Ahead Meals for Parents of Athletes

Being a mom of a growing child athlete can be tough (or so I imagine), especially when it comes to preparing a healthy dinner when you are always on the go. My cousin recently reached out to me about this very topic. She has 2 growing boys that play soccer (and many other sports) and a daughter that dances.   She asked, “What dinner suggestions do you have for the mom of athletes??? I’m always on the go and so worried about their food that I forget about myself!” In chatting with her, we determined it would be helpful to have some recipes for dinners that would satisfy the whole family and can be made ahead of time to bring to practice or a game.

Luckily, I know many brilliant recipe developing Dietitians, so I enabled their help to come up with this list of 15 Make Ahead Meals that are hearty and healthy for the entire family. And, feel free to whip these up even if you don’t have kids—I’m definitely going to!


Vegetarian Dishes: These dishes are sans meat but are still packed with protein. Meat eaters can add grilled chicken, fish, or a fried egg to any of these dishes.


Veggie Quesadilla

Veggie & Quinoa Quesadilla with Lime Slaw by yours truly of Nutrition à la Natalie


Veggie Nuggets by Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD of Real Mom Nutrition

Vegetable Fried Rice

Vegetable Fried Rice by Amy Gorin, MS, RD of Amy Gorin Nutrition

Quinoa Tabbouleg

Quinoa Tabbouleh by Katie Cavuto, RD of Nourish. Breath. Thrive.

Egg Muffin

Egg Muffins by Jessi Haggerty, RD of her self-named blog

Kale Caeser Pasta Salad

Kale Caesear Pasta Salad by Amanda Hernandez, RD of The Nutritionist Reviews

Chicken Dishes: These dishes are great lean protein options that are easy to throw together any night on the week.

Crispy Oven Fried Chicken

Crispy Oven “Fried” Chicken from Janice Newell Bissex, RD and Liz Weiss, RD of Meal Makeover Moms

Chicken, Sausage, Kale, Broccoli Frittata

Chicken, Sausage, Kale and Broccoli Frittata by Katie Cavuto, RD of Nourish. Breath. Thrive.

RBA mealtime

Honey Raisin Chicken Salad by Rebecca Bitzer, MS, RD of Rebecca Bitzer, MS, RD & Associates


Chicken Tikka Wrap by Dixya BBhattari RD of Food, Pleasure & Health

Red Meat Dishes: These dishes speak for themselves as hearty dinners for growing boys. However, try to keep the red meat consumption to only once a week.

Grano Salad with Bacon, Kale & tomatoes

Grano Salad with Bacon, Kale & Tomatoes by Liz Shaw, MS, RD of Shaw’s Simple Swaps


BLT & Avocado Quinoa Salad with Maple Vinaigrette by EA Stewart, MBA, RD of Spicy RD Nutrition


Spicy Meat and Potato Patties by Roxana Begum, PhD, RD, LDN of The Delicious Crescent.

Apple Bacon Gouda Mac & Cheese

Low Fat Apple Bacon Gouda Macaroni and Cheese by Jamie Vespa, RD of Dishing Out Health

Fish Dish: Fish is a great option with tons of protein and healthy fats, which is great for growing athletes.

Tuna Quinoa Sliders

Taco Tuna Quinoa Sliders by Kelli Shalal, MPH, RD of Hungry Hobby

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  • Reply
    EA-The Spicy RD
    June 10, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    So many great options to try, including your Quinoa Veggie Quesadilla-yum! My son has been playing on 2 baseball teams for the past few months, so evenings are super hectic-these recipes will definitely come in handy 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing my BLT Quinoa Salad-my kids love it!

    • Reply
      Nutrition a la Natalie
      June 11, 2016 at 11:15 am

      No problem! I’m definitely going to try that maple vinaigrette. Sounds delicious!

  • Reply
    June 10, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Great round up Natalie! Def pinning this to my healthy kids board!

  • Reply
    Tawnie Kroll
    October 29, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    These all look so yummy!

  • Reply
    October 31, 2018 at 10:05 am

    I have my eye on those veggie nuggets! All of the recipes look so delicious I might just have to make them all!

  • Reply
    Liz Shaw
    November 4, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    I really want to thank you for addressing this! I’ve heard so many clients over the years express worry over running out of ideas for dinners for their growing family. This is a must read!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    My friend is an ultra-athlete–I sent this post to her because I KNOW she will love quite a few of these! She isn’t a parent of an athlete but will still be super happy with these!

  • Reply
    November 5, 2018 at 9:37 am

    This is an amazing, handy resource!

  • Reply
    Emily Kyle
    November 6, 2018 at 9:04 am

    This veggie nuggets are getting made ASAP! So many good options here.

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