Stocking Your Fridge for Success

Add hockey practices and games to an already busy life and you’ll find that you spend way more time at one place: the drive-thru window. One way to get a handle on this is to make sure your refrigerator and pantry are stocked with healthy, easy-to-prepare foods that—and this is key—that kids will eat.

As a nutritionist, my top piece of advice can be summed up in one word: plan. Surely you’ve heard the age-old saying “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Well, when it comes to nutrition, this statement is like hitting a shot in a wide-open goal. You can see the target but it takes a little practice to make the shot every time. Athletes who are successful at gaining weight, losing weight, recovering from injuries, staying hydrated and staying well fueled, plan accordingly. They don’t just stumble upon success but instead have a plan to ensure that each aspect of their performance is taken care of.

At home, I encourage people to think of nutrition planning in steps:

1. Be Realistic

First you’ll need to think about your current diet and how you eat.

  • Do you rely on fast food?
  • Do your kids get school lunch everyday? (And do they actually eat it?)
  • Do you cook? If you’re a parent and you don’t have the time or skills to cook, that’s OK. Better to admit it now then break out a Julia Child cookbook with the intention of feeding your family Beef Bourguignon.

2. Determine What You Need in Your House for the Week

Take a look at what meals and snacks you and your family eat at home and buy food accordingly.

  • If everyone eats lunch out, then you may only need breakfast, dinner, snacks and performance foods (before practice, during practice and post-practice fuel and beverages).
  • Be sure to add “emergency” meals and snacks to this list. By emergency I mean convenience foods that anyone, even an 8-year-old, can grab and eat.
  • Don’t buy something nobody in the house likes just because it’s healthy. Many healthy foods are available, so why torture yourself or your kids? (Trust me, they’ll find a way to throw it out or sit stubbornly at the table for hours without consuming it!)

3. Keep a Running List

Don’t forget to keep an ongoing list of foods you run out of—basically an ongoing grocery list. Divide up the list by sections of the grocery store so shopping is easier and you don’t forget anything.

Click here for a handy grocery list to use as a starting place for filling your fridge!

If you want to be a champion or you are fueling a growing champion, you need to eat like one. Parents, don’t forget that kids are like sponges soaking up what is around them. This means they model your eating behavior from a very young age. Even if you never step foot on the rink or in any competitive sport, you still need to eat like a champion so your growing child follows your footsteps.

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS—a sports nutrition expert and Grow the Game consultant who works with athletes throughout the country—for providing this story. Her website is:

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