How to feed a large sports team

By Vanessa Mejia | Posted 10/11/2018

If you're ever looking for me on a Thursday afternoon during football season, I can be found at my son's high school helping serve him and his teammates their pregame meals. That's 42 boys, four coaches and two managers. That's a whole lot of hungry mouths to feed.

Here is what we do to make it run as smoothly as possible:

  1. Plan ahead. How many people will you be feeding? Don't forget to include the coaches and managers in your headcount. Will you use a caterer or make it yourself? Are there any allergies or dietary restrictions to consider? If feeding the team before a game, be sure to allow at least two hours for proper digestion.
  2. Keep it simple. This is not the time to test out a brand new recipe from Bobby Flay. Choose one kid-friendly main dish and plan the rest of your menu around it (i.e starch, fruit/veggie and dessert). Use disposable plates, cups and cutlery. No one has time to wash 752 dishes.
  3. Ask for volunteers. The more hands the better. The title of this post is "How to feed a large sports team," remember? You will need help setting up, serving and cleaning up.
  4. Serve it buffet style. This is definitely the easiest way I've found to do it. Set everything up on a long table in the order that it will be plated. When I help feed my sons freshman football team, we put the plates at the very beginning of the table, followed by the protein, then the starch, the salad/fruit, dessert, cutlery and finally the bottled water. Assign a volunteer to each item and let them serve the players as they walk down the line.
  5. Stock up on PB&J's. You're never going to please everyone, ever. No matter how hard you try. There will be picky eaters and parents who complain — don't sweat it. Keep an emergency stash of bread, peanut butter, and jelly handy at all times. Don't like what we're serving? No problem. Go make yourself a sandwich.

10 team-approved meal ideas:

  1. Pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches
  2. Tacos
  3. Lasagna
  4. Hamburgers
  5. Chicken Teriyaki
  6. Sloppy Joes
  7. Chili
  8. Spaghetti
  9. Hotdogs (Click here to learn how to make them in the crockpot.)
  10. Pizza (Because what would this list be without it?)


Feeding a team doesn't have to (and shouldn't) be stressful. I hope you found this post helpful and that you incorporate some (or all) of these tips into your next team meal.

Bon appetit.

Vanessa Mejia is the mother of three football-playing boys, ages 14, 13 and 10, and lives in northern Virginia. Her boys also play basketball, soccer and track and field. She shares Team Mom ideas, tips and tricks along with other facets of her family’s life away from the football field. Read more of her work at You can also join her and hundreds of other football-loving moms in the Confessions of a Sports Mama Facebook Group.