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food for athletes

Recipes for young athletes: Refuel after a big game

Here are some of author Cynthia Lair's picks for healthy snacks.

Food for athletes: Seattle’s Child asked Cynthia Lair, local author of Feeding the Young Athlete: Sports Nutrition Made Easy for Players, Parents and Coaches (Readers to Eaters, 2017), to write about a few of the many important topics covered in her informative book. Here is what she had to say about the importance of refueling after a big game.

A lot of muscle fuel is expended during a physical match of any sort and it must be replenished. Understanding how to rebuild the body’s fuel is crucial to the next performance. Though there is a bit a science involved, the concept is easy to understand and even easier to implement!

Food for athletes: Recipes for refueling after a big game

Coconut Date Bonbons and Orange Sections

An easy-to-make snack or dessert. Impress your friends! We made this in our classes at Bastyr University frequently and the students loved them because they’re easy to carry in a backpack. A stellar post-game snack.

¾ cup pecans

1 orange

½ cup pitted dates, chopped

Pinch of sea salt

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon white miso

1 tablespoon maple syrup

¼ cup shredded coconut

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Place pecans on a cookie sheet and bake/toast for about 10 minutes, until they begin to give off aroma.
  3. Remove and let cool.
  4. Zest the orange with a microplaner or zester. Set asides the orange.
  5. Put toasted nuts, orange zest, dates, salt, cinnamon, miso and maple syrup in food processor. Pulse until you have an even, mealy texture.
  6. Remove the food processor blade. With moist hands, roll the mixture into 1-inch balls.
  7. Spread the coconut on a plate and roll each ball in the coconut, covering each one evenly.
  8. Peel the orange and divide into sections. Pack bonbons and orange sections separately.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Makes 8 to 10 bonbons

Lemony Hummus Dip and Crispy Vegetables

Blanching brings out the flavor in vegetables while preserving nutrients and improving tenderness. You can store blanched vegetables in the refrigerator in zip-lock bags. Hummus is excellent for vegetarian sandwiches. The combination of chickpeas and tahini offers awesome post-game replenishment.

Lemony Hummus

1 ½  to 2 lemons

2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas

5 tablespoons tahini

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 to 3 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup cooking liquid from beans (or water) to desired consistency

Optional garnishes: Chopped parsley, paprika

  1. Zest one lemon with a microplaner or zester. Set zest aside.
  2. Juice lemons to obtain 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice.
  3. Place chickpeas in food processor or blender with lemon zest, lemon juice, tahini, salt, garlic and olive oil.
  4. Blend until smooth. Add cooking liquid from beans or a little water to get desired consistency.
  5. Garnish with chopped parsley or paprika if desired.Stores well refrigerated for at least a week.

Blanched Vegetables

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup cauliflower florets

1 cup carrot slices

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Cut vegetables in pieces that would be easy to dip.
  3. Prepare a large bowl or sink full of ice cold water.
  4. Drop vegetables into boiling water. Let boil until color brightens and vegetables become tender (a minute or two).
  5. Drain water off and immediately plunge vegetables into cold water until they are cool.
  6. Remove from cold water and allow to air-dry before storing in a sealed container.

Preparation time: 10 to 15 minutes for each recipe

Makes 2 ¾  to 3 cups of hummus, 3 cups of blanched vegetables

Recipes reprinted with permission from “Feeding the Young Athlete” by Cynthia Lair with Scott Murdoch, Ph.D., R.D. (Readers to Eaters, 2017).

Cynthia Lair founded the culinary arts program at Bastyr University’s School of Nutrition and Exercise Science. In addition to “Feeding the Young Athlete: Sports Nutrition Made Easy for Players, Parents and Coaches” (Readers to Eaters, 2017), she is the author of the bestseller “Feeding the Whole Family” (Sasquatch Books, 2016) and“Sourdough on the Rise  (Sasquatch Books, 2019). Her cooking videos can be seen on YouTube at “Cookus Interruptus.”

This updated article was first published in September 2013.

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