Do you have children in sports? This season of life can be really hectic. I’ve had three conversations in the last few days about how busy the travel sports life can be. Things are sure different from when we were young. We all played sports but never traveled. It’s almost as if club sports has shifted to travel sports. Even if you don’t travel, but you have local tournament weekends, these tips should help. And if you are just jumping into the crazy sports world, I’ll share a few thoughts about what we have learned.
MAKE A HEALTHY SNACK TO BRING
I can’t tell you how many times bringing something like these energy bites has saved us. And here’s the deal moms. Most of these tips are for you! Of course you can share with the kids, too. But while our children are out on the field, court, or ice we are cheering them on from the stands and a healthy snack goes a long way. Sure beats the concession stand options. There’s no sugar coating that these weekends are very sedentary for the parents. These only take a few minutes to make and will last through the tournament (no refrigeration needed).
MANGO DATE ENERGY BITES
I use this blender to make these but any powerful blender will do. Pro tip: use kitchen scissors to cut the mangos into smaller pieces. Add the mangos and dates and blend well. Then add the cashews, salt and chia seeds (1 Tbsp optional).
- 1/2 cup chopped raw cashews
- 10 organic dates, pitted
- 1 cup dried mangos
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)
Once blended (this can be a bit messy and you may need to scoop with a spatula and blend more), roll into bite size pieces. I pop them in the fridge for about an hour and then transfer to the counter. Store in a glass container or whatever you can take to the tournament. I also take these on an airplane when I fly. So yummy. Always nice to have a healthy option to take the edge off.
HOMEMADE PROTEIN BARS
I recently made these Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Bars using this recipe and they are delicious. They do need to be kept cold, so only make these if you know you can take a small cooler or lunch box. They are far more healthy than any of the pre packaged bars.
BE SURE TO HYDRATE
Water bottles for everyone! Love this bottle and use it every single day (I drink two of these each day).
THROW A COOLER IN THE TRUNK
Are you road-tripping? Or even just staying local for the tournament? I know the car fills up quickly between sports equipment, luggage, and family members, but if you have the room, this cooler has been wonderful. It’s the same one we took to Zion (ice remained ice for days). It’s a nice way to pack waters, fresh fruit and even ready to go salads. After years of doing this, the constant eating out can be a bit much so this helps with that. And there is plenty of time to kill in between games so a tailgate session in the fresh air is a welcome change.
SURRENDER TO THE BUSY
One of the conversations I had recently centered around the idea that these tournament weekends take up the entire 2-3 days and nothing gets done. Yep. My advice is to surrender to this season. If you commit to these sports, they are extremely time consuming. They can also be some of the most rewarding hours of your life. Watching your child follow a passion or enjoy comradery and learn valuable life lessons is really awesome.
These years fly by. While checking out at the grocery store, the gentleman working there told me how much he misses these weekends. I do try and get ahead during the week to help with the hectic schedule but I have also learned to let go. It’s not all going to get done. That’s ok. You won’t look back and remember what you did or didn’t accomplish over the weekend, but you will remember the team dinner or the family drive and the silly songs you sang. That’s the good stuff.
HAVE DINNER WAITING
It’s taken me a very long time to get this right. Make a healthy dinner the night before you start the tournament and double it! It’s really nice to come home to a home-cooked meal when it’s all said and done. Everyone is exhausted and hungry. That is something you can count on. If you are staying a 2-3 nights for a tournament, you can pretty much bet on not eating very well. Let’s just say we typically crave something healthy and the last thing you want to do after eating out all weekend is hit up a drive through. So I’ve learned to double the recipe so that food is ready when we return (can always pop it in the freezer if that is a concern). I have an easy enchilada recipe I will share soon. That’s always yummy to have when we walk in the door. The Salsa Verde Chicken Soup is always a hit over here.
Hope these tips help if you are just getting your feet wet or if you’re needing an idea or two to switch it up. And remember, this season is just that. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Thank you! This is our first volleyball travel season and we’re eating out and so much fast food. I just got a great cooler for the trunk so we can bring all the Gatorade, water, and some pre made salads, sandwiches and fruit and not have to run to the grocery. I just fill it up with ice from the hotel. Going to make the balls and bars! It is exhausting but agree fun to watch the kids play!
Good luck with the season! It’s definitely a lot. Love the cooler idea and forgot that we do the same. I just added it to the post. Thank you for the reminder. Genius to fill it up with ice at the hotel, too.
We are entering our first season of travel soccer and have also been playing in local tournaments recently. These are all great tips!
I love to pack fruit both for me and the kiddos. Oftentimes I pack salads with chicken if we are on the fields at dinner time. We like to cook extra grilled chicken to throw on a salad or make a sandwich. I also have a soccer bag ready to go with sunscreen, bug spray band aids, goalie gloves, extra shin guards, granola bars etc.
Leslie Moore says
Enjoy EVERY minute… when they are grown and done with travel sports, you will realize these times were the BEST years of your lives…. Trust me ❤️
Susan F. says
I love your food ideas! I have 2 daughters and one did gymnastics and diving while the other did club volleyball. I would try to bring breakfast items for the hotels that didn’t have free breakfast. I would also bring snacks for the venues we played at if possible. Some won’t let you bring in outside food. While we always did a team dinner, it gets ridiculously expensive eating out all weekend and buying concession food! One mom would bring her crockpot and a small ice chest. She would throw her ingredients on Sat morning and would have dinner ready for Sat evening in their room.
Great tips, and a good reminder to enjoy this phase because it will be over much too soon!
Recently we discovered electric coolers and I wanted to share since it was definitely new-to-me. They plug in and you can set it to keep the food cold or hot depending on your needs. The one we purchased included a standard wall plug and a car adapter. We used it on a long trip and had it plugged in to the car while driving, then plugged it in when we were in the hotel room. Total game changer! Everything was perfectly cool and no ice needed!
I love your Salsa Verde Chicken Soup!
The weekend you wrote this blog post, we were in the middle of tournaments for both of my older kids, and one game for my youngest for a total of 10 hockey games. And of course, they were no where near each other so there was a LOT of driving. There are pros and cons to a travel tournament away so you don’t have the distraction of home vs. tournaments in town. I try to do what you suggest. ALWAYS water bottles for everyone, snacks and more snacks, and be a planner for dinner or lunches as much as you can. I know these days are numbered and we love the business and excitement these times bring!