Sustainable College Athlete Meal Planning

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Sustainable College Athlete Meal Planning

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You find yourself for the first time on your own 100%, and now you need to feed yourself. 😱 This is what your parents could be feeling.

Not you though. You are 🥳 party hat on, and ready to rock college life.

And, because of these simple tips, you will.

First, because you are an athlete, you need to pay attention to your diet so that you do not blow your chances of being the MVP this year!

Knowing WHAT to eat will help.

Our Performance Food List will come in handy when trying to decide how to eat at the dining halls, the grocery store, and at team meals. Print it out and stick it everywhere – do it!

Knowing WHO you want to be will lead to stand out performances.

Many of your teammates and competition will struggle during their college time because they will not work on answering 1 simple question:

Who do I want to be?

The “Who do I want to be?” question will focus you on what is important to you. It will lead you to get support from those around you who want to help you be your best self. Maybe you are already thinking you want to be the “Leader”, “Best in the class”, “MVP”, “Pro Athlete”, “Graduate with Honours”…

What if the answer for all college athletes was “I want to be a Sustainable Athlete”. A what now? Keep reading!

How to Be A Sustainable Athlete

The top athletes who have the most fruitful and happy lives are living a sustainable athlete life. But you may be wondering what that means. Here is the best definition of who these incredible people are:

ET4P def “sustainable athlete”: An athlete who can repeat a top performance in harmony with themselves, their community, and their natural environment.

– Repeating a top performance means you need to get sick or injured less and heal faster when it does happen

– Being in harmony with yourself means you are not hurting yourself for short term results that don't last

– Being in harmony with your community and natural environment means you realize that every action you take impacts the world around you

Sound great?

Sustaining a top performance starts with what you eat. One of the best ways to be a sustainable athlete is to eat for performance!

Look at the options on your Performance Food List and choose 3 to 4 meals and snacks you already know you love by selecting at least 1 food from each category on the list. If you want to skip this step, you can also choose 3 to 4 meals from the 4P Recipes I have categorized by the time you should be eating them around your sport.

Most athletes will struggle with recipes and performance foods

Incredibly, most high level college athletes make it to college and “freedom” from parents without knowing how to grocery shop, prepare meals, or stock a kitchen. This is not only a detriment to performance, it is also a sure way to spend way too much time on these actions and way too much money when poor choices are inevitably made.

Why? We just haven't been teaching our athletes to meal plan and schedule in their grocery shopping, meal preparation, and even clean up (ya that's a thing!).

We need to to be better. So here are my best tips for sustainable college athlete meal planning. All of the actions listed here can be started at any age.


#1. Start a monthly menu planning ritual with your entire family (even if you are making 2 completely different meal plans). Take 1 hour per month and template out 1 week of meals. List the types of performance meals you'd like to eat and write down any home recipes on recipe cards – ah! this is why we need the entire family involved (probably even Grandma and Grandpa!). Then continue this ritual by jumping on a virtual call with your family 1x per month and meal planning together! This action is literally 1 hour out of your month. You can do this! In fact, we do this WITH our Sports Family Club every month in case you wanted to join a professionally led meal planning session each month. 👍

#2. Find a teammate or roommate to menu plan with each week. This only takes about 10 minutes out of your week, but can give you back hours of time! The reality is you can do this at a meal with your buddy. If you want the template for our high performance menu planning buddy system reach out to us!

#3. Try a new way of eating 3x per month. We all get stuck in our ruts. And, you may find yourself going to the same pasta bar or eating the same snack 5 times a week. You will find out that this leads to an extreme boredom and even sometimes a disdain for your food choices. How sad! By incorporating 1 new meal idea or snack idea per week you will keep the options interesting and your performance eating game will be more powerful.

Inside of the 4P Sports Nutrition School we actually play a game with food. We call our food game the F-Games. This is to be consistently encouraging variety and new ways of eating. Check our our F-Games teaser below! And YES, there are prizes for those who play, and win, the game!

#4. Celebrate your success. Did you know that the human brain is designed to seek pleasurable rewards. Habits are formed in feedback loops. You get inspired to act (maybe you read this article and decide to try eating a new meal), you act (you eat the new meal), and your brain decides if it likes this habit (yummy or not tends to be most “unconscious” athlete's approach to determining success of a new meal). We have a way you can “hack your brain” and insert success. It has to do with celebrating. If you tried a new meal and you performed better that day – maybe you focussed better in school, maybe you were strong and energized in practice – especially if the outcome was positive and clear you should pause and celebrate that success.

Inside of the 4P Sports Nutrition School we encourage writing down successes and we have a special way to remind you to do this involving treasure chest. But you will need to be inside the school to get the full deets. We also have a monthly celebration session to reward success stories and reinforce your best habits!

What's next?

If you have never heard about performance eating then I officially welcome you to the idea! You can find out more by asking questions here, getting involved in our online community, and sharing the idea with your sports community. We are redefining sports nutrition and we invite you to embrace our mission and share our valuable content. Thank you for your continued support!

To your success!


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