Gymnast Meal Plan Week 1

NEW Weekly meal “plan”

You’ll have to let me know (reply below) if you enjoy getting a few recipes each week, but I know that I enjoy finding new inspiration for dinners, etc given “what’s for dinner” is one of the most common household questions. 

I have to confess…I’m not a “meal prepper”. I cannot eat the same thing out of tupperwares each day as that was something in my dieting past that I can’t do anymore. I just rebel. You don’t have to eat out of tupperwares to be healthy, and it’s important to have a variety of foods in your diet instead of chicken/broccoli/brown rice every.single.day. No thanks. 

I enjoy cooking more than some, but I’m also really busy seeing clients and working in the business, so I definetly don’t have hours to work in the kitchen (or keep a food blog, etc). But, a lot of you love when I post meals/recipes on Instagram in my stories, so I’m going to make this more official with a weekly meal plan blog! I hope this gives you some “kitchen inspiration” and also gets your gymnast involved in the kitchen as able (minus practice schedules, etc). 

Why should you and your gymnast make a "loose" meal plan each week?

1) A “loose” meal plan for the week can give you 4-5 meals that will also provide leftovers for lunches (healthier, saves money).

2) This plan allows you to grocery shop much less (instead of having to pick up something random everyday) and thus also saves money, time, energy, etc.

We all know the feeling of coming home with nothing planned for dinner and then just ending up ordering pizza or swinging through fast food on the way home from gym. These aren’t necessarily “bad” choices (food isn’t good or bad), but restaurant and fast food chains have inherently bigger portion sizes and more added salt, sugar, and fat than you’d serve at home. 

Below is my plan for the week. For you and your gymnast, it’s really easy to modify the portions at the meal to fit your gymnasts needs. The gymnast will likely need the moderate to high intensity performance plate (more carbs), and a sedentary adult would be fine with the low intensity plate (on average, everyone is different). Download my 5-day meal guide if you haven’t and you’ll get the Performance Plates Guide and lots of other recipes for meals/snacks. 

Sunday- Baked Teriyaki Salmon + Cheese Ravioli + #SummerSalad

A lot of gymnasts I meet don’t like salmon because they’ve never had it fresh or it’s been cooking in a boring way. 

This is one of my favorite recipes that my mom passed down to me. I grew up eating salmon at least once a week for “brain food” and I think it worked. 

For those who don’t love salmon, I recommend going to Whole Foods or a fresh fish market where you can ask them when the salmon was flown it. You want to buy it if it’s been there only a day or so. If it’s been sitting in the fish counter for 2-3 days, it will more than likely smell fishy before you cook it and that taste doesn’t go away with cooking (and thus why many people don’t like fish). 

Teriyaki Ginger Marinade: 

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (fine if low sodium)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sherry wine (can be cooking wine)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tbsp fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped 

Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl or 7×11/8×8 pan. Place 1-2 lbs filet of salmon with skin in marinade, flesh down. Marinate for 45 min-1 hr (have left for ~2 hrs and was fine). Bake on foil lined pan skin down at 400 degrees F for ~20-25 minutes until internal temperature at thickest part is 140 degrees F. I like to reduce the marinade while the salmon is baking to thicken and then pour on halfway through.  Also excellent on the grill; you’ll make a foil pan by folding a few pieces of foil together and placing the salmon skin down over high heat. Cook 10-14 minutes (no flipping) until internal temp 140 degrees F. If using once piece of salmon, pour marinade over the salmon on the grill in the foil pan. If using 4-6 oz filets, pour the marinade on about 4-6 minutes into cooking so it doesn’t burn before the salmon is finished. 

#SummerSalad is a light-hearted hashtag I started to capture my favorite way to eat a salad. I use the following: 

  • mixed greens (baby lettuce, spinach, etc)
  • berries/nectarines/apples (chopped/thinly sliced)
  • pistachios/walnuts/almonds (I like them lightly salted or even candied…you’re not adding a ton so it’s OK if there’s a little sugar)
  • blue cheese or your fave crumbled cheese like goat or feta (or shredded is fine too)
  • a fruity vinaigrette like this homemade lemon strawberry- something like this, I wing it with a lemon, some strawberries/strawberry jam, olive oil, salt/pepper, a dash of ground mustard
  • other veggies as desired like cucumber, carrots, bell peppers, etc)
  • avocado (depends on the salad, if available)

I like to build 1/3 to 1/2 the plate with this salad which provides COLOR (fruit/veggies w/ lots of fiber, antioxidants, etc), healthy fats, and some dairy which most all gymnasts are short on at the end of the day. 

Monday- Chicken Tender Salads + Sweet Potato Fries

Monday is one of the harder days of the week to get back into the swing of things, so I love this quick and easy recipe that is sure to please all family members. 

Panko Crusted Chicken Tenders

  • 1 lbs chicken breast (2-3 breasts)
  • Panko bread crumbs w/ a dash of garlic salt/pepper
  • Egg wash (beat an egg w/ a splash of milk)
  • Seasoned flour (mix ~1/2 cup of flour w/ a dash of salt/pepper)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the chicken breast into tender sized strips. Dip each into flour (shake off excess), then egg wash, then the panko bread crumbs and set on a foiled pan (sprayed w/ PAM, etc). Bake for 15-20 minutes until internal temperature 165 degrees F. 

I will put these tenders (chopped, usually) on a #SummerSalad and serve some sweet potatoes fries or regular French fries (or roasted potatoes, etc) on the side for some “fun foods” with the salad. 

Tuesday- Ground Beef Taco Salads (or over chips w/ side salad) + Cauliflower Rice/Rice + Cumin Cilantro Black Beans + Chips/Salsa/Guacamole

I LOVE Mexican food. I’ve never been a huge ground beef lover, but my husband prefers ground beef taco meat and it is important to get some “heme iron” (animal based) 2-3 times a week for the adolescent high level gymnast to help prevent iron deficiency anemia. 

Cumin Cilantro Black Beans (1/2 chopped onion + 1 minced garlic clove sauteed w/ 1 slice bacon, then add 1 can of drained/rinsed black beans + 1/2 chopped red bell pepper + ~1/4 cup chopped cilantro + few dashes of garlic salt + 1/2-1 cup water or chicken broth if didn’t use garlic salt. Simmer on the stove for 15-20 minutes while making the ground beef, you are really just cooking them a bit and letting the flavors meld together while cooking down the liquid). 

For the taco meat–I buy a pound of 90/10 or leaner ground beef and just cook in a skillet and then add ~1/2 packet of taco sesasoning (I don’t love taco seasoning but my family does and 1/2 a packet does the trick). If you buy 80/20, just drain the fat off before adding the seasoning since beef fat isn’t really beneficial like omega-3’s in salmon, etc. 

Wednesday-Balsamic Chicken Thighs + Roastd Potatoes + Steamed Broccoli w/ Cheese and #SummerSalad

THIS recipe is fantastic. I’ve made it on the stove or grill and both were excellent. I have only used the marinade and used chicken thighs—just marinate for about 45 min before cooking. Pour the remaining marinade in the pan or over the meat on the grill as the honey and balsamic will carmelize and leave you with a delicious, slightly sweet coating on the chicken. 

For the potatoes, I just quarter some small yukon gold potatoes, toss in some olive oil with a little dried basil/oregano, and dash with some garlic salt before roasting at 425 for 20-30 minutes until golden and crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. 

Thursday- Egg Strata + #SummerSalad or another grilled/steamed/roasted vegetable

This “all in one” meal (minus the COLOR) is fantastic at any time of the day, including as a leftover. Use any bread you like (I prefer a sourdough or something from a bakerey that has more substance that just normal sandwich bread), eggs, milk (haven’t tried with a plant-milk), bacon/ham/sausage/turkey sausage, and a mix of cheeses (my fave is white american and sharp cheddar or gouda/fontina/gruyere if I have it). 

Grab the recipe in my free 5-day Gymnast Meal Guide

Friday- Pizza Friday!!

Friday’s are traditionally pizza at our house as this was also a tradition at my house and my husband’s when we were growing up. This is not a “cheat meal” (I don’t believe in those), it’s a normal meal and I’ll serve it with a #SummerSalad to balance the plate. My favorite pizza is a wood-fired or really puffy crust (not too chewy/dense but not thin and cardboard-like) with alfredo, chicken, bacon, diced tomatoes, and spinach. I often recreate this with a frozen Trader Joes crust for a cheaper alternative to ordering out. 

Saturday- Leftovers, night off, order out, etc.

Again, this is not a verbatim “Meal Plan”…sometimes I have more time on the weekends to cook so I’ll shift another recipe that requires more time to Saturday and repurpose leftovers during the week (or shift Pizza Friday to another weekday). 

I hope you enjoy the first of many weekly meal plans for the gymnast (and your family!). Let me know if you find this helpful and I’d love to share some of your favorites.  When I select recipes for my family, I aim to meet our nutritional needs but also include a balance of the “fun foods” and “nutrient dense foods”. More satisfaction at meals leads to less snacking, cravings, etc which is a huge struggle for a lot of gymnasts and individuals. 

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