If you have a child in competitive sports you know what an away tournament can look like. Continental breakfasts, restaurant meals, treat sharing every night….That is why being food organized for sports tournaments can make all the difference in the world.
The downside of doing no planning and jumping in the car assuming that your tournament town and the rest stops along the way have all the food and drink that you need is that toward the end of the weekend you and your kids end up low on energy (which really sucks if you make it to the finals), people end up with short fuses….and low and behold, come monday….everyone is sick.
So here are my best tips on how I get food organized before we leave for hockey tournaments. I have to thank all the hockey moms and dad’s from my hometown who have given me ideas along the way.
And make sure to grab the free download at the end. It will be very useful for you.
1. Request a small fridge and microwave in your hotel room.
Many hotels already have these in each room but if you are not sure, just call the hotel in advance and request it. Sometime hotels only have limited numbers of them so don’t wait. Call now!
Remember that the hotel fridges are not large so use smaller packaging with the food that you bring bring ice for your cooler.
2. Find out if your hotel serves a hot breakfast.
One of my favourite hotel features is a hot breakfast. No, not because of the croissants (well, maybe I will treat myself to one…once…maybe:-)…
Seriously though, if they have some fruit, real eggs and bacon then that is perfect. Breakfast is covered. (Yes, we have actually seen not real eggs).
If not, plan to bring some hard boiled eggs, yogurt, trail mix and fruit. And if you want to get real classy, cook up some bacon at home and just heat it in the microwave! We also like Nutty Cereal so I have been known to just throw some almond milk and banana on top of whatever trail mix I bring and Voila! Nutty Cereal at it’s finest.
3. Take a look at your team schedule for the weekend.
Hopefully your team manager has put together an itinerary that notes when the team plans to eat together and when you are all on your own. I know ours does…she’s amazing like that.
There may be a team pizza night on the Friday and restaurant on the Saturday. If so, good/not-good but your dinners are covered.
Did you think I was going to recommend you just attend the pizza party but bring your own chicken breast and broccoli? Surprise! No. After a couple of years at this, I realize that that’s just not going to work for most people.
Enjoy your pizza. I’ll be chomping down on mine right beside you…(but it will probably be gluten-free:-).
You can suggest to the team manager that someone pick up a veggie and fruit platter to go along with the pizza as well as some bottled water (this has always come out of our team budget and I’ve never heard a complaint).
And make a decent menu choice at the restaurant.
4. Fill in the gaps
So if breakfast and dinners are covered, you are left with snacks and lunches.
This is where a little meal prep comes in handy. I usually choose a couple of meals that reheat well and then make them before we go. Perhaps a Shepherd’s Pie and Egg Roll in a Bowl. These serve as meals for in the car and lunch on Saturday and likely Sunday.
Another simple lunch is a pack of better quality lunch meats, raw veggies, cheese and mayo. We like to wrap the cheese in the lunch meat with a little mayo and enjoy the veggies on the side with some hummus. It’s quick, easy, cheap and healthier than most fast food options.
This means I also bring paper plates, plastic cutlery, a little knife and cutting board and stuff to wash the dishes.
And then we just heat up the food in the microwave in our room. But if you are in a decent hotel, they will be happy to bring plates and cutlery to your room. They even brought me cloth napkins once! Just call housekeeping.
5. Make a list
And now for the best part. I am actually going to give you the grocery and packing list that I use when I am getting ready for an away tournament. You can download it for free HERE..
It has all of the ideas I mentioned above plus a few more. You can follow it to the letter or you can use it to get a few ideas so that you feel a little more prepared at your next tournament.
I hope you find it useful. You can get the free list HERE.. And let me know how it goes!
So here is the recap on how to be food organized for sports tournaments.
- Request a small fridge and microwave.
- Find out if the hotel has a hot breakfast.
- Find out your team’s itinerary. When are you on your own for meals?
- Fill in the gaps.
- Make a list of what you need.
You see, I haven’t told you that I think you should try and eat perfect all weekend. What I want for you is that you have plenty of great options available because it will make your indulgences be a bit less…and that makes a difference.
So feel free to use this list to get yours started. And good luck at your tournament! You can download the list HERE..
What would you add to the list?
Let me know in the comments below!