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Fuel for Fitness

Brought to you by the Washington State Beef Commission

Fuel for fitnessAs a working mom of three young athletes, part-time coach, former collegiate player, and running enthusiast, I know how essential good nutrition is to feeling good and keeping up with my family’s fast-paced life. But paying attention to my nutrition and fitness goals isn’t where my job stops.

Kids work hard these days. In the classroom, on the playground and, of course, on the pitch! How parents fuel those busy, growing bodies can be a challenge when your family is on the move. But the reality is, children require high-quality nutrition to maintain optimal health and development. A healthy approach to any family’s nutrition includes of a variety of fruits and vegetable, whole grains and low fat dairy options that are optimized when lean, powerful protein is incorporated throughout the day.

Nutritional balance, and getting all five food groups, worked in at every meal can be a challenge and feel like a lot of work (and a lot of food) for most families. But nutrition research shows when protein is consumed throughout the day, a little at each meal and even with snacks, our bodies make the most out of this valuable nutrition. To help your family get started on a Fuel For Fitness focus in your daily meals, I suggest you download the 7 Day Soccer Mom Meal Plan. You’ll find that I’ve focused on giving you great protein-included meal options for every meal, every day. And if you’d like more information on protein’s essential role in fitness, food choice tips and recipe resources, visit

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a powerful post-training refueling meal or just an easy, crowd-pleasing dinner-in-a-hurry, give this a try:

Deli French Dip Sliders with Crunchy Country Slaw:

Preparation time: 10 minutes                       Serves: family of 4-5

1-1/2 pounds thinly sliced fresh Deli Roast Beef

1 packet Au Jus mix (prepared as directed)

4 slices provolone cheese, cut in half

8-10 whole wheat bakery rolls

1/4 cup reduced-fat ranch dressing

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

2 cups packaged broccoli slaw

  1. Prepare Au Jus broth as directed on package in medium stock pot. Hold broth at a simmer and add Deli Roast Beef slices, cooking for 4-5 minutes, or until heated through.
  2. Split whole wheat bakery rolls and place 1/2 slice of cheese on top then warm under broiler to melt cheese while Beef warms in broth.
  3. Mix dressing and mustard in bowl. Toss slaw mixture with dressing.
  4. Top warmed buns with equal amounts of Beef and close. Serve sliders with a small cup of Au Jus broth for dipping and Crunchy Country Slaw on the side.


Kitchen Notes: Other great sides for this simple meal are sweet potato fries, fruit salad or your family’s favorite sliced raw vegetables such as carrots or red peppers.

Looking for a more adult version? Top your sliders with the Crunchy Country Slaw. Or, quickly sauté some sliced mushrooms with olive oil to add to your sliders.

A note on identifying your young athlete’s protein needs: The amount of protein your child needs depends on his/her age, body size, gender, and activity level. But a good rule of thumb, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, is that protein should make up about 15 to 20 percent of your child’s daily calories. According to the Kids Health from Nemours website, kids usually need to eat about 1/2 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. This means that a 70-pound child should eat around 35 grams of protein disbursed throughout a day. Very athletic older children and teens might need up to a gram of protein per pound of weight to sustain their energy, growth and athletic development. Seeking nutrition advice specific to your family’s needs is always encouraged. 

Want to learn more? Visit Washington State Beef Commission's Fuel for Fitness page at