fast food restaurants for student athletes

Elevate your game with our ultimate guide to pre-game meals for student athletes! Discover the top restaurant picks that will fuel your victory, providing the perfect blend of nutrition and taste. The right sports nutrition pre-game meal starts the day before a game or tournament can make all the difference in performance on the field or court.  Choosing the ideal combination of carbohydrates, proteins, and essential nutrients is essential to ensure they have the energy and stamina needed to excel. In this guide, we’ll explore some restaurant options that provide nutritious pre-game meals, helping student athletes gear up for success.

  • Pasta Restaurants:
    • Olive Garden: Opt for a pasta dish with lean protein like grilled chicken or shrimp. Choose whole wheat pasta for added complex carbohydrates.
    • Carrabba’s Italian Grill: Chicken or shrimp with whole grain spaghetti and a side of vegetables provide a good balance of carbs and protein.
  • Mexican Restaurants:
    • Qdoba or Chipotle: Burrito bowls with lean protein (chicken, steak) and a variety of vegetables, brown rice, and black beans can offer a balanced pre-game meal.
    • Baja Fresh: Grilled chicken or fish tacos with whole grain tortillas and plenty of fresh veggies can be a good option.
    • Chipotle:  A burrito bowl with chicken, brown rice, black beans, and colorful vegetables can be a tasty and nutritious choice.
  • Grilled Protein Options:
    • Applebee’s or TGI Fridays: Grilled chicken or salmon with vegetables and a side of sweet potato or brown rice can provide essential nutrients. They also offer pasta dishes. 
    • Outback Steakhouse: Grilled chicken or a lean steak with a sweet potato and a side salad is a balanced meal choice.
  • Asian Cuisine:
    • P.F. Chang’s: Grilled chicken or shrimp with brown rice and steamed vegetables is a nutritious option.
    • Pei Wei: Teriyaki or ginger chicken with brown rice and stir-fried vegetables can offer a good mix of carbs and protein.
  • Sandwich Shops:
    • Subway: Turkey or chicken breast sandwich on whole wheat bread with plenty of veggies provides a good balance of carbohydrates and lean protein.
    • Jersey Mike’s: The Turkey Breast & Provolone or Chicken Philly Sub in a whole wheat wrap can be a lighter option.
    • Publix – Pub Subs 
  • Health-Focused Restaurants:
    • Sweetgreen: Create a custom salad with a variety of vegetables, lean protein (chicken or tofu), and a complex carbohydrate source like quinoa, butternut squash, rice or sweet potato.
    • Freshii: The Pangoa Bowl with grilled chicken, brown rice, black beans, and fresh vegetables is a well-rounded option.
  • Local Health-Focused Cafés:
    • Check for local cafes that prioritize fresh and healthy ingredients. They often offer customizable bowls, salads, or wraps that can be tailored to meet specific pre-game nutritional needs.

Remember, it’s essential for student athletes to focus on a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats in their pre-game meals. Hydration is also key, so they should drink plenty of water leading up to the game. It’s advisable to experiment with different meals during practice sessions to see what works best for individual performance.


Traveling for weekend games and competitions doesn’t mean compromising on sports nutrition. By planning ahead, staying hydrated, and choosing nutrient-dense options, student athletes can ensure they are fueled for success on the field. A sports nutritionist plays a crucial role in guiding these young athletes, empowering them to make informed choices that contribute to their overall performance and well-being. With the right approach to nutrition, the road to victory becomes a well-fueled journey.

For our guide to sports nutrition for travel and road games see our other blog post here .

Let us help you create a customized sports nutrition plan including what to eat on the road with each meal timing for tournaments, showcases and games. Schedule a free discovery call at this link and get started on being elite.