Tuesday 12 November 2019
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Tournament Survival Tips: Save Money and Stay Fuelled

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If you have children in sports, you know first hand how costly ‘away’ tournaments can be.

Hotels, gas and eating three meals a day (plus snacks) ‘on the road’ can add up quick for the average family of four.  

One of the easiest ways to save money and fuel your growing athletes is by: packing a weekends worth of nutritious snacks and meals. As the mom of two active teenage boys, I come by this topic honestly and passionately.  

My pack-and-go recipes will save you hundreds of dollars over basketball/soccer/lacrosse/dance/hockey season, and will nourish yourself and your family while on the road.  

All recipes use pantry staple items and take very little time to prep.

Hint, Hint…get those teens in the kitchen, prepping and packing meals/snacks.

Recently, I spent an evening teaching my oldest son’s basketball team (picture below) how to make each of the below recipes, and received smiles all around = proof is in the pudding.


Or, in this case: Proof is in the Chocolate-Coconut-Chia-Energy Bites!  

Homemade Sports Drink

*photo credit: Meagan Broughton

In a pinch, many of us reach for commercial sports drinks.  Most sports drinks are loaded with artificial colours, processed sugars and poor taste.  With a few pantry staple ingredients, you can prepare your own hydrating sports drink for pennies per serving.   

*As an avid runner myself, I often double or triple the recipe in the summer months (*and keep refrigerated).  This way, we have plenty on hand for a post run sip, when my kids are heading to soccer, basketball or bike park, or when my husband is running out the door to baseball.  For a ‘gourmet’ twist on this drink: add a sprig of fresh rosemary while steeping tea and remove before mixing.

4 cups (1 L) water

1 bag herbal tea *my kids prefer peach, or berry flavour *I prefer ginger

¼ cup (60 mL) orange juice

2 tbsp (30 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tbsp (30 mL) Canadian maple syrup (*or liquid honey)

¼ tsp (1 mL) quality sea salt

Boil water.  Remove from heat and steep tea bag for at least 30 minutes. Chill. When ready to prepare, remove tea bag and stir in juices, maple syrup and salt to cooled tea.  Shake (*if placing in a mason jar) or stir well to combine. Consume within two days of preparing.  Makes about 4 cups (1 L)

Peanut Butter Hummus

*photo credit: Peanut Bureau of Canada

Take advantage of the produce section: pre-chopped, washed and ready-to-go veggies.  No prep required!  This peanut butter hummus (click here for the recipe) is loaded with plant protein, healthy fats and fibre.  Bonus: takes minutes to whip up.  I like to pack up half as a dip and use the remaining hummus as a spread for my ‘Clean Out The Crisper Sandwich’ (recipe below).      

Clean Out The Crisper Sandwich

*photo credit: Charmaine Broughton

A cottage loaf is commonly used to make ‘party spinach dip’.  This loaded sandwich is a perfect way to use up any leftover meats or vegetables kicking around in your refrigerator.  Consider this bread bowl a blank canvas and load it up with whatever you may have on hand.  Bonus: only minutes to prepare!    

1 large (500 g – approx.) pumpernickel or sourdough cottage loaf

1/3 cup (75 mL) peanut butter hummus OR, stir together: 1/4 cup (60 mL) mayonnaise + 3 tbsp (45 mL) Dijon mustard

2 cups (500 mL) lightly packed baby spinach leaves or mixed salad greens

½ lb (250 g) thinly sliced deli style meat (*or, canned salmon or tuna)

1 cup (250 mL) grated cheddar cheese

½ cup (125 mL) thinly sliced cucumber

½ cup (125 mL) grated carrot

1 small red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

1 avocado, pitted and thinly sliced

Cut a round cap off the top of the cottage loaf.  Reserve top.  Hollow out the inside and top of the loaf to make a bread bowl, leaving about ¾ -inch of bread inside the crust. Spread hummus all over inside of bread bowl and inside the cap.  Place spinach leaves at the bottom of bread bowl and layer with meat, cheese, cucumber, grated carrot, red pepper and avocado.   Place cap back on sandwich and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.  To serve, remove plastic wrap and cut into 8 wedges.

Chocolate-Coconut-Peanut Energy Bites

*photo credit: Charmaine Broughton

Once you taste these ‘bites’, they’ll become a staple in your weekly food prep routine.  Perfect for those back to back games when children don’t have time, or want to eat a full meal.  They will satisfy their sweet tooth and refuel them as well.  I often make a few batches at once and keep them in the freezer so they are ready to pack-and-go on a game day fly!  Click here to learn about the health benefits of peanuts and peanut butter.

1 cup (250 mL) each; salted peanuts and large flake sweetened coconut

1/2 cup (125 mL) each; large flake rolled oats (*or quinoa flakes) and dark chocolate chips (*I like to use at least 70% dark chocolate)

3 tbsp (45 mL) each; chia seeds, hemp seeds and cocoa powder

1/3 cup (75 mL) each; natural peanut butter and liquid honey (*or, maple syrup)

2 tsp (10 mL) pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp (1 mL) pure coconut extract *optional

Garnish: Shredded coconut

Place peanuts, coconut, oats and chocolate in the bowl of a food processor fitted  with a metal blade.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add remaining ingredients and pulse until mixture comes together and just starts to form a ball.  Roll mixture evenly into balls – a bit smaller than a golf ball (should yield approx 16 bites).  Roll each ball in shredded coconut to coat.  Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in freezer for 3 months.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes



*photo credit: Peanut Bureau of Canada

These fun to make (as they are to eat) cupcakes are a perfect post game celebration treat!  If you’re the parent who loves baking a sweet treat for the team – these cupcakes will be a sure win, no matter the outcome of the ‘game’.  Click here for recipe.

Charmaine Broughton is a food media specialist and recipe writer for Running Room Magazine.  “I eat, cook & play with food for a living = why I run!!” she says with a laugh.  She’s a regular guest on a variety of morning shows across Ontario, sharing her enthusiasm for all things edible.  Most importantly, Charmaine is the mother of two active, and always hungry teenage boys; Tyler & Colgan.  She understands the importance of preparing healthy, wholesome dishes all while keeping time, budget and her sanity in mind.


Facebook: Charmaine Broughton

Twitter: @runnercharb

Instagram: charmaine _broughton

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