Our 2021 Junior National Food Guide
Austin Junior National swimmers, coaches, and spectators, this blog is for YOU! We recently published a blog post on the best eats in Greensboro, NC for those attending the U.S Open. Take a look back if you are someone going to Juniors in NC this week.
We LOVE Austin! Why? Not only is UT a great facility for some fast swimming, but also because the area offers so many great healthy restaurants. It was hard for us to pinpoint the best places to eat because there are so many. After a lot of research, these four spots made our list due to proximity to the aquatic center, healthy ingredients, and the variety of menu options for swimmers to fuel themselves for optimal success during competition.
222 West Avenue, Suite HR100
Austin, TX 7 8 7 0 178701
True Food is just minutes from the pool and offers so many great options during race week.
- Poke Bowl
- This dish provides a great combo of protein and carbohydrates. Contains wild-caught tuna (high in protein/lean meat), brown rice, quinoa, avocado, pickled jicama, bok choy, pickled shiitake, and sesame seed.
- Comes with lemongrass ponzu. Consider ordering on the side.
- The avocado and tuna are both great sources of omega 3 fatty acids, which help endurance athletes improve their muscle flexibility and can reduce resting heart rate variability.
- If you do not regularly eat raw fish (sushi, poke, sashimi), this is NOT the dish for you. Make sure your stomach will handle this menu item.
- Grilled Sustainable Salmon
- Another awesome option to prove Omega 3’s.
- Comes with farro, quinoa, seasonal vegetables, cilantro pumpkin seed pesto.
- A nutrient-packed meal that will not sit too heavy in the stomach.
- Ancient Grain Bowl (may add protein)
- Contains miso sesame glazed sweet potato, turmeric, charred onion, snap pea, portobello, avocado, hemp seed, cilantro pumpkin seed pesto.
- A great option for the vegan or vegetarian athlete.
- Turmeric supports gut health, fights inflammation, indigestion, and imbalances in the digestive tract. Sweet potato is a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals supporting the immune system. Avocado (again) provides great Omega 3’s the veggies added are great sources of various vitamins and antioxidants.
- Onion is the only ingredient you may want to leave out if it is going to upset your stomach.
- Grilled Chicken Avocado Wrap
- A good option for lunch.
- Contains organic tomato, cucumber, hummus, fresh mozzarella, lemon oregano vinaigrette, house-made pita.
- Grilled chicken is always a perfect meat option while competing, for it is low in fat and high in protein. This option provides healthy fats (avocado, hummus) and a light vinaigrette. The whole wheat wrap is a good addition, for your carb. If you do not handle cheese well during the meet week, ask for the wrap without mozzarella.
- For your side, we recommend a kale salad or butternut squash soup.
Honestly, True Kitchen does a great job with natural ingredients. Most of the menu choices are going to be just fine provided your stomach can handle everything in the meal. The few to steer clear of are:
- Lasagna Bolognese (higher in fat)
- Burger and Vegan Double Cheeseburger
- Even though these are good options for someone wanting a burger, these choices are still high in fat due to the mayo, remoulade and cheeses added.
- Spicy Panang Curry
- Unless you eat primarily a Thai or Indian-based diet, best to avoid due to the spice content, which can mess with your stomach.
- Swap any dishes that may come with broccoli. Broccoli causes bloating and will not make you feel great come race time.
2 locations (breakfast and lunch only)
1700 S. Lamar Boulevard (recommended)
Austin, TX 78704
4801 Burnet Road (limited menu)
Austin, TX 78756
The PickNik menu is a little more limited and offers lighter calorie options. This spot is good for breakfast (if not offered by the hotel) or for lunch.
- Avocado Toast
- Go with the ½ option if too heavy before competing.
- Add a hard-boiled egg on the side for protein.
- Oat milk + Collagen Overnight Oats
- Oat milk is a good source of fiber and has lots of vitamins. It also regulates blood sugar. As non-dairy milk, it is better on the stomach if you are sensitive to lactose.
- Oats are a great source of carb and protein.
- Collagen is beneficial for hair, skin, and joint health.
- Apple Cider Oatmeal
- Slightly flavored oatmeal, not too high in sugar or fat. Good and tasty option for those who eat oatmeal regularly before training or on meet day.
These options are very light and not calorie-dense. These options may not provide enough fuel for everyone competing; however, are good options if you are someone who eats throughout the day/meet and are looking for something light between prelims and finals.
- Chicken Bone Broth (can add additional protein or collagen)
- Very light option if that is what you need.
- High in protein and will not upset the stomach prior to racing.
- Harvest Hash
- Contains high vitamin sweet potato, nutritious spinach and Brussel sprouts, and lean grass-fed beef which is high in protein.
- This meal also contains onion and red pepper, which some can tolerate, some cannot. Get it without if you are unsure.
- Chicken Salad
- Grilled chicken, Dijon aioli, candied pecan onion, tarragon, kale, radicchio.
- Great lean meat choice, with greens and veggies offering healthy carbs and vitamins.
- Tarragon aids in reducing blood sugar, inflammation, and pain – helpful during a meet.
- Ask to swap out the kale for a green like spinach that is less bloating and gas creating.
- Coconut Curry Broth
- Chicken bone broth, coconut milk, curry spice, and pink Himalayan salt.
- This is a lighter and less spicy curry option if you enjoy the taste and want it during a meet. Normally, we would not recommend curry during competition, but the chicken bone broth and coconut milk make this a solid option for those used to eating curries. High in protein.
- Himalayan salt is known to improve respiratory diseases, balance the body’s PH, and improve sleep quality.
Again, not too much to avoid here, but we have two items to steer clear of:
- Broccoli Hash and Chili
- Both can lead to bloating and cause an upset stomach.
1014 W 6th St
Austin, TX 78703
- Chicken Soba Noodle Salad
- A proper mix of carbohydrates and protein.
- Lower fat noodle option.
- 520 cal, 48g carb, 17g fat, 44g protein.
- Herb Chicken with Mediterranean Sauce
- Add green beans, which will provide Vitamin K, B, and calcium.
- Herb chicken is a nice lean protein option, topped with spices that are anti-inflammatory.
- 330 cal, 13g fat, 35g protein.
- Cajun Salmon with Braised Greens and Bacon
- 15g carb, 37g protein.
- Does contain 42 grams of fat because of the side sauce, go without.
- If really watching fat content, ask for greens without bacon, as well.
- Bruschetta Chicken
- Cooked in a light balsamic reduction, easy on the digestive tract.
- Served with nutrient-dense green beans.
- 350 cal, 12g carb, 15g fat, 39g protein.
- Turkey Bolognese
- Low-fat pasta option, higher carb option, if needed.
- Served over spaghetti, good lean protein.
- 370 cal, 58 carb, 10g fat, 19g protein.
- Almond Crusted Salmon
- Sides: roasted zucchini and carrots, which are good sources of various vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy carbohydrates.
- 420 cal, 23g carb, 24g fat, 31g protein.
- Remove almond topping and get grilled plain for lower fat content.
- Bison Chicken Quinoa Bowl, Turkey Chili, and Chicken Teriyaki Bowl
- Onion, beans, cheese, and peppers can upset the stomach.
- Bison Shepherd’s Pie
- Heavy on the stomach, which can make you feel lethargic after consuming.
- Buffalo Ranch Burger
- Higher in calories and fat, not optimal for fueling during competition.
1007 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704
Sweet Green may be our favorite option, as virtually everything on the menu is generally very nutritious and healthy. If we must pick, though, here are our top choices.
- Super Green Goddess (485 calories)
- Another great option for our vegan and/or vegetarian athletes.
- Contains kale, spinach, raw beets (which are great for promoting endurance and aiding in recovery), sweet potatoes, protein-rich lentils, chickpeas, carrots, and green goddess dressing.
- Remove the kale as it produces gas and promotes bloating.
- Garlic Chili Shrimp Bowl (400 calories)
- Roasted shrimp served over cabbage, apples, fresh herbs, raw carrots, and red onion.
- Topped with fresh lime.
- Champagne vinaigrette.
- Ask for no onion if you cannot tolerate them.
- Limit the cabbage as it can cause digestive gas and bloating.
- Chicken and Brussels (485 calories)
- Romain, spring mix, roasted sweet potato, toasted almonds, blackened chicken and cranberry maple vinaigrette.
- Create your own
- Choose quinoa, spinach, or spring mix (or combo) as a base.
- Choose any combo of these toppings: carrots, cucumbers, beets, roasted sweet potato, Brussel sprouts, and avocado.
- We recommend hard-boiled egg, tofu, roasted chicken, or shrimp as your protein.
- Add fresh lemon or lime to top your bowl.
- If getting a dressing the best option is balsamic vinaigrette.
- If you want to add cheese, goat cheese healthiest option. It provides protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
We cannot find one meal option to absolutely nix. There are, however, dressings and cheeses we encourage you to steer clear of. These can be swapped, served on the side, or removed completely.
- Cashew dressing
- Ranch Dressing
- Caesar Dressing
- Peppercorn Tahina Dressing
- Blue Cheese
- Parmesan Crisps
It is likely that most swimmers attending Junior Nationals will be eating their breakfast at whichever hotel they are staying. When choosing from your typical breakfast buffets, go with one the following high-carb combinations:
- Toasted Bagel + Nut Butter + Banana + Fruit (berries, melon)
- Eggs + Toast with Jelly + Oatmeal with Toppings
- Oatmeal with Toppings + Banana
- Waffle + Eggs + Banana/Orange
- 10-20oz Water
If your hotel does not provide breakfast, BYOF (bring your own food). At a minimum, your room should have a microwave and hopefully a fridge. Make one of the above combos in your room.
PRE-MEET/DURING MEET FUEL
- Small Orange
- Pack of Honey Stinger Chews
- Superhero Muffin
- Rice Cake
- HU Crackers
- Handful Grapes
- ½ Lara Bar
Note: Don’t forget recovery food, immediately following your last race of the session: Protein Shake or Bar with Equal Carbs/Equal Protein – Lara Protein, Primal Kitchen Protein Bar, RX Layers Bar
This wraps up our restaurant and meal recommendations for athletes competing at Junior Nationals in Austin, TX. Even if you are not competing and are attending as a coach or parent, these are all awesome options for you, as well.
*Note: I am not personally a certified nutritionist. These recommendations were made by consulting with the BWB team including certified sport nutritionists and certified health coaches.