NCSA’s is just around the corner, and we want to share another addition of best eats at your meet! The NCSA meet, hosted in Orlando, is one of the most popular meets among the swimming community. There are plenty of options near the Rosen Aquatics center for teams to enjoy some good and healthy grub. Do beware, though, a lot of the chain restaurants able to accommodate large teams indoors, provide more unhealthy choices on their menus than nutritious ones. We are here to help! Check out these convenient spots and what options we here at BWB recommend.
8849 International Dr.
A fun and lively spot to take a team in Florida that can accommodate a team. Close to the pool and many hotels, Bahama Breeze offers some healthy options and some not so much. Make sure you know which ones are going to help you operate at peak performance. We suggest the following:
Tequila Sunburn Glazed Salmon
This is a tricky one because it is listed near a grilled salmon dish, which is typically a BWB recommendation. However, the glazed salmon is healthier in that it has better side options and is an appropriate portion size. The grilled salmon dish is a good choice if you get it without the broccoli and yellow rice and substitute for green beans and plain rice.
Jerk Chicken Pineapple Bowl
This is a fun dish that looks as good as it tastes! The bowl is served with white rice, pulled grilled chicken, pineapple and peppers in a glaze. This offers a good protein to carb ratio, as well as great nutrients from the peppers and pineapple. Do note, in general, pineapple is very high in sugar. This dish does not overdo it, though. Ask for light glaze, or for the sauce on the side. If the sauce is too heavy, it can sit in your stomach and make you feel slow the next morning.
Vegetarian Option: Black Bean Stuffed Plantain Bowl
This is a great choice for dinner, may not be the best lunch option for it is substantial. It is higher in calories, so be aware of that. Some of us need more to re-fuel than others. On the other hand, the plantain bowl has zero tans fat, and it is the lowest option in saturated fat on the menu. Calories do not always equate to whether something is healthy or not. If the onions or beans are going to mess with your stomach, or you are unsure if they will – go without. We recommend ordering without the melted cheese or asking for light cheese. Too much melted cheese can mess with your digestive system and hinder your performance the next morning at prelims.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Crispy Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich
7700 W Sand Lake Rd
Orlando, FL 32819
A pricier spot that may be good for athletes going solo as pros or with their parents as a special post finals meal! Their entrees are all cooked with fresh and healthy ingredients. This restaurant is one of the few where you need to make sure you getting enough fuel from its options, as they are all lower in calories compared to other restaurants.
Sesame Grilled Salmon Salad/Maui Tuna Crunch Salad, BBQ Chicken Salad/Wood-Grilled Tenderloin Salad
That is a lot of salads! Yes, all these options are fantastic choices during meet week, especially at lunch. They are light on the stomach and still provide adequate protein. These choices are probably not enough food if you are not consuming food throughout the meet and you may need to add double protein if ordering these salads at dinner. Avoid the Maui tuna crunch salad if you do not regularly consume raw fish. Some people cannot handle it and it can make you ill.
Cedar Plank-Roasted Salmon
Season’s 52 has a great salmon with just the right seasoning. It comes with roasted asparagus, a great source of ??? and a good portion of marble potatoes to eat during a meet. Not too many but gives you the starch you need. Add in a piece of bread or two for your carb.
Brick- Oven Vegetable Gnocchi
A very nutritious soup with Gnocchi for your carb and it is veggie packed. A good side option if you are going to need more with a salad, for example.
Kona Crusted Lamb Loin
Applebee’s (2 locations near hotels/aquatics center)
6324 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819
1130 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32821
In our opinion Applebee’s should not be a meet week spot; however, we do realize that it provides enough space for many teams to attend together, and its price point and locations are convenient. If your team dines at Applebee’s and you want to make healthy choices, be prepared to be “that person” when you order. You are going to have a lot of requests!
Bourbon Street Chicken & Shrimp
Order this dish sans butter and swap potatoes for a side salad to make it a perfectly nutritious and protein packed meal during competition. It is served with parsley, sautéed mushrooms and onions. Again, if onions are not in your wheelhouse go without.
Blackened Cajun Salmon
We are always recommending salmon dishes as the fish has great health benefits with its Omega 3s. Ask to add this salmon to a full-size house salad instead of getting broccoli and mashed potatoes. Broccoli is deceiving. A very healthy and nutritious food, but it causes bloating and inflammation. Not what you want when you are trying to perform at your best all week. Potatoes are a good source for some starch, but for lunch especially, you will want to avoid. Can sit in your stomach going into finals. A small amount with dinner is not going to hurt.
Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad
This salad gives you the adequate amount of protein and some extra health benefits with strawberries. The fruit contains adiponectin, which increases the body’s metabolism, and it also is a great source of vitamins C and K. This salad also has tomatoes which are high in vitamins C and K, as well. Vitamin A supports immunity and K is good for you bones. The shaved almonds in this mix are an awesome source of extra protein. Your call on the onions! Ask for light dressing or for the dressing on the side.
Both the Southwest Chicken Bowl and Tex-Mex Shrimp Bowl are decent choices at Applebee’s. Especially in comparison with much of their menu. Order without the tortilla strips and decide if the black beans are going to mess with you or not!
Oriental Chicken Salad and wraps *Can sub grilled chicken to make these okay options
Hand-Battered Fish and Chips
Bacon Cheddar Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Chicken Fajita Rollup
The Prime Rib Dipper
Noodles & Co
7822 W Sand Lake Rd
Orlando, FL 32819
Noodles & Co is a swim meet classic, particularly for lunch. It offers a lot of options, and their online ordering makes it easy to pick up for a team of athletes between sessions. Noodles & Co offers keto, vegetarian, gluten free and paleo friendly meals, as well. Here are favorites:
This pasta is cooked in a light sauce with veggies, lemon and light parm on top. Shrimp is a great meet food, provided you like it.
The Med Salad with Chicken
A Noodles & Co favorite by many. This option is great, because even though it is a salad providing leafy greens, it also includes some noodles giving you needed carbs. Along with the good protein from chicken, it also includes olives, zucchini, tomatoes and feta cheese. Use light dressing and get without cheese if you do not digest it will.
Zucchini Grilled Orange Chicken
A nice choice if looking to avoid pasta. Served in a light sauce with grilled orange chicken with basil, cabbage, green onions and snap peas. Nutrient packed, for sure!
Spicy Korean Beef Noodles
Wisconsin Mac & Cheese
Buffalo Chicken Mac
Alfredo MontAmore with Parmesan-Crusted Chicken
Spaghetti and Meatballs
11951 International Drive South
Orlando, FL 32821
First watch provides breakfast and lunch, closing at 2:30. Great option for lunch with choices that are championship season appropriate. A more limited menu, but still highly recommended! Top picks:
Pesto Chicken Quinoa Bowl
Our number one First Watch menu item. Quinoa is a great carb choice, easy on the stomach. This bowl also provides great protein with chicken. To round out the ingredients it has shredded carrots, roasted tomatoes, basil pesto sauce, lemon white balsamic vinaigrette, kale, chicken stock and lemon. Definitely a win!
Chicken Avocado Chop Salad
This one needs a little changing up, for the salad has a lot of healthy ingredients, but a few that need to go. First ask for a balsamic dressing on side, instead of the citrus chipotle dressing which is 300 calories! Doing this along brings the calorie count from 1,000 to 700. There is also whipped butter which isn’t great for racing time. Go without. You will be left with arugula, avocado, chicken, corn, black beans, herb mix, tomatoes and tortilla strips (may ask for without, up to you!).
Great choice if you ask for this sandwich without bacon and swap white bread for wheat. Turkey is a great lean protein, and the avocado and tomatoes provide lots of nutrients. We recommend getting this with light or no mayo, and for a side choose salad.
And, that’s a wrap!! To all of the athletes out there competing this week at NCSA’s we wish you the best of luck! We hope all of us at Beine Wellness Building are able to help you swim your fastest by providing you some restaurants and menu options best for performance.