Health & Wellness

Hot and Healthy Ideas for Your Next Regatta Food Tent

It’s a new year and the perfect time to start planning your regatta tent fare for the spring. Whether you’re formulating or re-formulating the food options offered to your team, I invite you to take it up a notch or two by offering healthier options and more food variety.

Crews love their food tents. So much so, that they may overeat there, especially if unhealthy options are the centerpiece. If large, fat-laden muffins, cookies, candy and sugary drinks are the norm, what message is sent to the rower about nutrition and fueling for sport?

Food tents have the opportunity to send an important message about health and the importance of nutrition to racing success. In fact, the food offered at the food tent shows how committed the crew team is to performance nutrition.

Consider taking your food tent to the next level by adding these foods {packed with carbs and protein} to the buffet line:

Hot & Healthy Food Ideas

After a chilly day on the water, nothing is more satisfying than something hot to eat. Some of the ideas listed below are great to serve as a smorgasbord, encouraging rowers to “build their own,” selecting combinations of food that meet individual food preferences.

Chili: Chili that offers both carbs, such as beans, and protein, like beef or turkey, offers up the essentials for muscle recovery after a hard race. Try turkey with sweet potato, beef and bean chili, or a vegetarian chili.

Soup: Offer soup with noodles or rice to get the carbs in such as, Chicken Noodle Soup, Minestrone Soup, Turkey and Wild Rice, or Tomato and Corkscrew Pasta.

Noodle Bowls: These are so easy to make! Cook pasta such as spaghetti or linguine, add hot beef, vegetarian, or chicken broth, and toss in thinly sliced veggies such as mushroom, sliced green onion, julienned carrots and red bell pepper. The veggies soften in the hot broth. Be sure to serve some soy sauce on the side!

Rice Bowls: Similar to the noodle bowl, cook rice, chicken, beef or pork and veggies ahead of time and let rowers build their own bowls.

Rice and Beans: Make this an interesting option by offering brown or white rice, black or pinto beans and toppings, including shredded cheese, onions, salsa and sour cream.

Baked Potato: Potatoes are so versatile! Top potatoes with chili {see above}, southwestern toppings such as cheese and salsa, or go for the traditional toppings of bacon, cheese and chives.

Egg Sandwich: Cook an egg (a cooked yolk is less messy) and layer a slice of cheese and a slice of Canadian bacon on bagels or English muffins.

Scrambled Egg Wraps: Scramble eggs with veggies such as mushrooms, sweet red pepper and onions, place on a flour tortilla, add cheese and wrap. Add salsa for a spicy flare.

Grilled Sandwiches: The combinations for hot sandwiches are almost endless. Try grilled American or Cheddar cheese with sliced tomato, ham and Swiss cheese; roast beef and provolone, or chicken and mozzarella. Of course, bump up the flavor and nutrition by tossing in veggies and fresh herbs like basil. Hot tip! Cover a brick with tin foil to create a portable Panini press.

Round out these hot and healthy options with water, yogurt, chocolate milk, fresh fruit, tossed salads and other quick and healthy snacks.

Written by Jill Castle, MS, RDN | Jan 04, 2016

Jill Castle, MS, RDN is a childhood nutrition expert and author of Eat Like a Champion: Performance Nutrition for Your Young Athlete. She lives with her husband and four children in New Canaan, CT. For more about Jill, go to

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