Nutrition Hacks for Busy Coaches

By Kelsey Grosulak

Athlete nutrition is crucial for performance, but what about coaches, they’re important too! Eating on the go and with a crazy schedule is one of the hardest things to do. With practice schedules all over the place it can be hard to eat right. It may seem easier to skip breakfast before those early morning practices and guzzle down coffee instead. Or after practice gets over at 9 o’clock at night, because that’s all that works with players class schedule, that Wendy’s drive through looks like the quickest and easiest way to get some food before going to bed and starting all over again tomorrow.

Here a few tricks to simplify your nutrition.

  • Plan Ahead – The most important key is to control the crazy environment as much as possible!! Plan ahead. Planning is not a foreign concept to coaches, they have practice plans and game plans…they are people with plans. Carry those planning skills over into your own life. If you know practice will be late, try to grab dinner before and if you need a little snack after, have something healthy ready for you, some carrots perhaps?
  • Carry Snacks – Keep some Cliff Bars in your coaching bag, or packets of protein powder shakes such as EAS shakes. These are wonderful snacks and are also good pre or post workout nutrition.
  • Don’t Skip Meals – This will leave you hungrier later and will do you no good. Do you only drink coffee before early morning practice? Have a piece of toast with peanut butter, oatmeal, a banana, something is better than nothing!
  • Limit Your Caffeine – If you keep your body properly fueled you will have more energy. You will sleep better. And you will hopefully be able to cut down on your caffeine intake. Some caffeine is ok, but I don’t suggest a diet coke IV.


Eating on the Road

  • Home Cooking – If you are traveling through an airport, skip the overpriced airport food and pack yourself a meal from home. A nice turkey sandwich with an apple for example! And bring an empty water bottle to fill up once you get past security.
  • Road-Trip – Who doesn’t get the munchies on a road trip? Pack yourself a cooler with some bottled water, fresh fruit, veggies, healthy bars, string cheese, lean protein, and some yogurt. That way when your munchies hit you have a healthy snack to reach for plus you don’t have to make as many stops.
  • Dining Out – It can be tempting to justify eating at restaurants as a time to cheat, unfortunately for you and your excuses, there aren’t any good ones! You can find something healthy at pretty much any restaurant you go to, and if they don’t have something on the menu, ask them if you can have something prepared a certain way. I would bet you can get grilled chicken, fish, or steak with a salad or a side of veggies at almost any restaurant you walk into. And skip the bread at the beginning, or limit yourself to one piece vs. the whole basket.
  • DRINK WATER –  Especially if you are traveling at higher altitudes, always hydrate.
  • Be Prepared – Remember those snacks I said to always have around? Make sure you are stocked up on the road, so if you get hungry during a break between games at a tournament, you are enjoying a nice healthy snack rather than a snickers bar and popcorn from the concession stand.
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Certified Exercise Physiologist, Former Division 1 Basketball Player, Wannabe Runner

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  1. Justin Scanson said:

    I forgot to pack my snacks and ended up with a pretzel dinner on the airplane yesterday. I’ll do better next time Coach Kelsey!