A Team that Eats Together Wins Together

waspsA few months ago, I participated in a Leadership Retreat for the hospital. One of the speakers asked if anyone knew what doctors who are consider “exceptional” all had in common…superior test scores? outstanding grades? high level academic institution? According to the study, doctors considered to be “exceptional” all played in a high level TEAM SPORT! 

There are many lessons to be learned from playing a team sport; not just the physical development, but the camaraderie, team work, life long bonds and discipline. Did you play any sports growing up? What, when and where were your best youth sports experiences? What made them memorable experiences? Encouraging these bonds and getting players to trust each other is a huge part of playing a team sport.

Successful teams have a culture of trust, respect, compassion, and responsibility, but how do we get them there? Well, food always works! Teams have a great opportunity to bond and cook and eat at the same time. Here are a few ideas:

1) The Pre-Game Meal

We all know group meals are about much more than taking in food; they’re about socializing, being part of a group. Pre-game meals are a great way to get the team (and parents together) to have fun while sharing fresh tasty foods. Invite the coaches and team managers, and take this time to strategize about the following day’s game or tournament, discuss eating and hydration strategies. Make sure to make your meal mostly carbohydrates with a small amount of good quality protein and healthy fats.

Ideas for Pre-Game Team Meals

  • Pancakes and waffles
  • Bagel “Bar” with all the toppings (cream cheese, veggies, etc)
  • Soup, Salad and Bread
  • Pasta Bar
  • Fajita/Taco Bar
  • Baked Potato Bar

2) Snack Pack Building

It’s always tough to be prepared, especially for tournaments…long hours and multiple games…getting together as a team and making your own “snack packs” can ensure that everyone’s got what they need! They are easy and way more economical than buying ready-made stuff. Here’s an example of a “homemade snack pack…” there’s pretzels, raisins, carrots, granola bars, string cheese and apples. Get the kids involved!

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For more on tournament eating, check out my Tournament Blog!

3) Cooking Classes

Cooking classes are great for team building. At any age, boys and girls, having the essentials of cooking and meal preparation will teach them important life skills. Sign up at your neighborhood cooking school, or ask your school for the use of the school kitchen and have a guest chef do the class. Speaking of cooking classes, back by popular demand, this summer I will be teaching a few “Kid Cooking Classes” as well as a “Get Ready for College Cooking Class.” Look for more info in the next few weeks.

4) Fundraisers (bake sale)

Fundraiser have been a part of organized sports for many years. Bake sales have been popular amongst athletes of all ages. Instead of store-bought, why not have moms (and kids!) make some fun, home-made, healthier alternatives to the store-bought donuts and muffins. Maybe I’ll teach a “bake sale item” cooking class?!

So enjoy your team, enjoy some healthy, great food and have fun! And don’t forget to contact me if you need any help! I can help with catering a team meal, cooking classes or snack pack assembly! Good luck!

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