Although I’ve been very busy with my entrepreneurial ventures and teaching at Berkeley, I’m still required to cook for my athletic teenage daughters. Cooking for athletes is different than cooking for a normal family as there are serious time constraints and, “food as fuel” is more of a practice than a concept, although I think it should be an extremely high priority for anyone feeding growing children, athletic or otherwise.
My daughter will often swim for an hour and a half. She does this after school, so she has already had a full day and has eaten next to nothing. She’s also prone to anemia, so I am always trying to pack her meals with nutrients, and they need to be iron dense. My other daughter plays soccer and has practices in the evening, so between soccer and swimming there is a tiny slice of time for dinner, and it’s around 5 p.m.
As many mothers know, teenage girls don’t eat much at lunch, which makes them very hungry when they get home from school. This is when the bad snacking is often done. I’ve tried many strategies over the years, but have recently decided to serve a quick dinner at this time when possible. I know how lucky I am to be able to have the flexibility to cook early in the day, but if you don’t, try making a double batch of this to freeze in single serving glass containers, or to serve the next day.
When the kids were little, and I was for the most part a stay-at-home mom, I could spend two hours cooking dinner, but that is no longer possible. Someday, I hope to have time to make homemade ravioli again, but for now this will have to do, and it checks the boxes of the top criteria for me. Fast, easy, hot and nutritious. Plus, they love it, which might be the most important criteria.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
1 package gluten free spaghetti cooked
1 jar of marina sauce or make your own
1 package of meatballs from Whole Foods Market or make your own
Parmesan cheese (I like these large shavings)
Begin cooking gluten free pasta as per package instructions. Then, in a large sauce pan heat the meatballs and sauce until they come to a slight boil, reduce heat and let simmer while the pasta is cooking. Once pasta is done, add to the pan and gently toss while hot. Reheats and freezes well.