10 Ten-Minute Dinners for Athletes

STACK Expert Kait Fortunato provides 10 quick and healthy meal choices for the holidays.

The holiday season can throw us off our normal routines, overload our schedules and reduce available time in the kitchen. But this doesn't mean athletes have to sacrifice their fueling needs. It's still possible to put together a 10-minute dinner that is balanced and filling. When preparing your meals, always include carbohydrates, protein, vegetables and a source of healthy fat. Here are ten 10-minute dinners that fill the bill.

1. Shrimp Stir Fry

Shrimp Stir Fry

Shrimp is a great source of omega 3 fats, muscle-building protein and vitamin B12 for energy. Shrimp is easy to cook from frozen form, so no need to plan ahead. To make this stir fry, I cook the shrimp and frozen vegetables (Asian medley) in a wok or frying pan and serve it over microwavable brown rice or whole wheat pasta with a dash of soy sauce.

2. Omelet


One of my go-to's is breakfast for dinner, and I love making omelets to incorporate a quick source of high-quality protein. Omelet add-ins  are totally customizable, allowing you to use whatever you have on hand—veggies, cheese, ham, fresh herbs, whatever. I recommend serving with whole grain toast (for high-fiber carbs) with some nut butter for the healthy fat.

3. Savory Oatmeal


Cheese, herbs, fruit and spices can turn this whole grain carbohydrate into a warm, savory dinner. This recipe with carmelized onions and curry powder sounds delicious. Depending on your mix-ins, make sure to add a source of protein such as a soft-boiled eggs.

4. Pesto Pasta with Roasted Chickpeas

Pesto Pasta

Pasta is definitely an easy starter for a 10-minute meal. While it's cooking, rinse a can of chickpeas and roast them the oven or on the stove top with olive oil, salt and pepper. Chickpeas not only add fiber, they are a great source of vegetarian protein. If you can, add fresh or frozen spinach and top with a sauce of your choice. I love adding jarred pesto, but even olive oil or tomato sauce works great!

5. English Muffin Pizzas

English Muffin Pizza

English muffin, pitas, bagels, wheat bread—the pizza base option can be flexible to fit with what you have at home. I like adding a can of diced tomatoes as the "sauce" with cheese and toppings—rotisserie chicken, pepperoni or salami, frozen spinach or broccoli.

6. Tuna Melts


I always keep canned tuna and salmon in my pantry for quick meals. They are excellent sources of protein and omega 3 fats, and they have a long shelf-life. Mix the tuna or salmon with mayo, mustard or Greek yogurt and any veggies you have available. Serve over salad with crackers or, if you are in the mood for a hot meal, spoon it onto toast with a piece of cheese and heat until the cheese is melted. Goes great with a side of your favorite soup!

7. Salmon Filets


Staying with seafood front, I love keeping salmon filets in my freezer. They can be microwaved or cooked in the oven for a 10-minute meal. Serve with microwavable quinoa for added protein and whole grain carbohydrates and a vegetable of your choice.

8. Burger and Sweet Potato

Burger and Sweet Potato

Another freezer staple, your favorite brand of all-natural turkey burgers (such as Jenni-O) or 100-percent beef burgers (Bubba's) are good to keep on hand. I add tomato, spinach and avocado to burgers for added healthy fats. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite carbohydrates, not just because of their taste but also their nutrient content (vitamin E and potassium). Sweet potatoes can be cooked quickly and conveniently. Just poke them with a fork and wrap them in a moist paper towel before microwaving them for 5 to 6 minutes.

9. Lazy Girl's Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan
This is definitely one of my go-to meals as I always have chicken breast in my fridge or freezer. For quick prep, I cook the chicken on the stove top and top it with diced tomatoes or a jar of my favorite sauce and a slice of mozzarella. While the chicken is cooking, I boil some pasta and add fresh or frozen spinach.

10. Beans and Rice

Rice and Beans

This is a standard that I could not leave out, thanks to its ease and amazing fiber/protein combination. I use microwavable rice. To mix it up, you can try different flavor combinations—basmati, garlic, Spanish style or rice pilaf. You can also choose different beans—lentils, black beans, great northern beans, chickpeas—and of course, try a new spice or sauce!

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