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It’s a big job to provide sufficient quantities of the right food to our rowers at regattas. Here is the food tent plan designed to fuel our rowers with coach-approved healthy food at regattas.


McLean Crew Food Tent

Most sports nutritional experts agree that a few fundamental and simple dietary guidelines should be kept in mind on race day:


  1. Eat familiar foods, nothing new or exotic

  2. Eat moderate carbs that are low in fat and sugar

  3. Drink plenty of water


  • The local regatta food tent is simple, healthy, and predictable:


    • Breakfast:

      • Bagels with peanut butter, almond butter, sesame butter, jelly, honey and nutella

      • Instant oatmeal (plain or with honey)

      • Granola bars (low sugar/fat variety)

      • Fresh fruit and vegetables (advance prepared)

      • Hot chocolate, water and decaffeinated tea


    • Lunch/snacks:

      • Turkey, ham and roast beef wraps or sandwiches (advance prepared)

      • Pasta salad: whole grain, black bean, couscous salad (advance prepared)

      • Fresh fruit and vegetables with hummus (advance prepared)

      • Granola bars - low sugar/fat varieties

      • Desserts or treats for late in the day


    • All day beverages:

      • Water.

      • Gatorade, diluted  (on hot days or with mulitple races)

      • Hot chocolate, decaffeinated tea


  • All fresh food items at local regattas will be advance prepared by parents on a pre-committed basis via Sign-up Genius, volunteer basis or prepared and purchased in advance from a commercial source.  Parents  who volunteer to advance prepare food  and incur expenses may submit a request for expense reimbursement to the Regatta Chair. Non-food and nonperishable supplies will be replenished by the Food Tent Captains.


SignupGenius will send reminder emails two days prior to the local regatta. If you can’t fulfill your obligation, SignupGenius has a feature that helps you find another parent to assume your responsibility if you aren't able to fulfill it.


The sections below describe each food tent volunteer position listed on the Signup Genius website for McLean Crew local regattas. 


Local Regatta Food Tent Volunteer Positions


1.      Race Day Captains:  There are two Race Day Captains for each local regatta. The Race Day Captains provide general oversight of all Food Tent activities throughout their respective shifts. The morning Race Day Captain works the morning (usually  6:30am-11:00am) shift and the afternoon Race Day Captain works the afternoon (usually 11:00 am-3:30 pm) shift.  The Morning Race Day Captain is responsible for delivering ice and the hot and cold water coolers, overseeing the set up of the Food Tent, and restocking non-perishable items identified as needed. The Afternoon Food Tent Captain is responsible for overseeing the breakdown and cleanup of Food Tent and identifying Food Tent items that need to be restocked at the end of the day and providing that list to the Morning Food Tent Captain and/or Regatta Chair after each regatta. Expenses are reimbursed by filling out the Reimbursement Form (located here) and providing it to the Regatta Chair along with receipts.


i.      Morning Race Day Captain: Arrive at Food Tent by 6:00 am on race day.  Deliver the large filled hot and cold water containers.  Oversee tent, table, and food set up for morning shift.  The Morning Food Tent Captain should unload this at the Food Tent site. Receive food items delivered by Advance Preparation volunteers.  Fill and organize coolers. Set up tents, tables and garbage cans.


ii.      Afternoon Race Day Captain: Arrive at Food Tent no later than 11:30 am on race day (or specified shift time). Coordinate hand-off from Morning Race Day Captain. At end of the day, oversee food tent breakdown and cleanup, identify any non-perishable Food Tent items that need to be restocked (plates, water bottles, Gatorade, cups, condiments, etc) and provide that list to the next weeks’ Morning Food Tent Captain and/or Regatta Chair. Coordinate removal or disposal of leftover perishable food items. Ensure food trailer is organized and closed up properly when clean-up is finished, assist Food Trailer Hauler in connecting the trailer to his or her vehicle, and remove/dispose of trash.


2.      Food Trailer Hauler: There are two Food Trailer Hauler volunteer slots per local regatta. The drivers use their personal vehicle to tow the food trailer to or from the race site. The tow vehicle must have a standard 2” hitch ball and a 4-pin light connector. Between regattas the food trailer is located at McLean High School. The morning and afternoon Food Trailer Haulers have the following responsibilities:


i.      Morning Food Trailer Hauler: The afternoon or night before the regatta, hitch the food trailer to your vehicle, ensure that lights are connected, and park both in a safe location near your home.  Drive the food trailer to the race venue, arriving no later than 6:30am on race day or alternatively arrange for afternoon drop-off at Sandy Run the day before. Meet Morning Race Day Captain, ensure you are at the proper location, position it in the proper location, and unhook the trailer from your vehicle. Assist Morning Food Tent Captain with set-up of tents and tables and hang McLean banner. If you have not signed up for another shift, you are free to leave.


ii.      Afternoon Food Trailer Hauler:  Arrive at the food tent site no later than 3pm (or at the arranged time) on race day. Assist with food tent breakdown and clean-up as necessary. When clean-up is finished, hitch the food trailer to your vehicle, ensure that lights are connected, and drive the food trailer back to McLean High School, making sure to leave it in the proper position with the wheel chocks in place.


3.      Advance Food Prep:  Each task involves picking up, purchasing, and/or preparing healthy food selections for the rowers in advance of the regatta and delivering the prepared items to the food tent at the race site either by 7:00 am or 10:00 am on race day.***Amounts of advance prepared foods will be monitored closely and adjusted as necessary for subsequent regattas. *** Parents  who volunteer to advance prepare food and incur expenses may submit a request for expense reimbursement to the Treasurer.


i.      Advance Food Prep – Bagels:  By 6:30 am on the morning of the local regatta, pick up the McLean Crew Club advance paid bagel order (approximately 6-8 dozen sliced assorted bagels).   Deliver the bagels to the Food Tent by 7:00 am or as soon as possible thereafter on race day.


ii.      Advance Food Prep – Wraps and sandwiches:  As early as 5:30 am but no later than 9:00am on the morning of the local regatta, pick up and pay for the advance wrap sandwich order for McLean Crew Club. Giant Food will store the wrap sandwiches in multiple boxes (use a cart).  Deliver all sandwiches to the Food Tent no later than 10:00 am on race day.


iii.      Advance Food Prep – Fruits and Vegetables:  During the week prior to the local regatta, purchase the fruits or vegetables that you have agreed to provide.  The night before the local regatta, wash and prepare all fruit and vegetables as necessary and deliver to the Food Tent in plastic bags or other appropriate container no later than 7:00 am on race day.


iv.      Advance Food Prep – Salad:  During the week prior to the local regatta, purchase or prepare a healthy simple side salad (whole grain, quinoa, couscous, black bean) in sufficient quantity to fill one full size foil steamer pan (or two lasagna pans) and deliver it to the Food Tent no later than 9:00 am on race day.  Please avoid mayonnaise and strong spices.


4.      Food Tent Worker: There are four Food Tent Worker volunteer opportunities per local regatta – two parents work from 6:30 am to 11:00 am and two parents work from 11:00 am to 3:30 pm (or until the clean-up is finished).  Morning Food Tent Workers assist with Food Tent set-up (tents, tables) and afternoon Food Tent Workers assist with Food Tent breakdown of tents and tables and clean-up. Each Food Tent Worker has responsibility for the following:


Beverages:  Assists with setting-up the large hot and cold large water containers, replenishes the stock of beverages throughout the day, and breaks down and cleans up the beverage areas at the end of the day.


Sandwiches/Bagels:  Maintains the bagel station in the early morning and the sandwich station in the late morning. Volunteers will also set up the sandwiches in containers of ice for food safety and replenish the ice when necessary.


Fruits, Vegetables, Salads:  Cuts and serves prepared fruits and vegetables.  Monitors prepared side dishes brought to the food tent.  Stores salads in coolers with ice prior to serving and set up salads in trays of ice for food safety.


Supplies:  Ensures that there are sufficient dry good supplies (cups, plates, utensils) in the Food Tent area.  Volunteers also set up/take down the recycling bin (white square recycling bin with clear plastic bags) and take out the recycling as necessary -- putting the full bags next to the full trash bags during the regatta.


Rower Nutrition


For starters, what should rowers eat? As stated in “Nutrition Strategies for Rowing” (see link below) “Rowing requires a unique mix of technique, power and endurance, utilizing both anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. Rowers have a very high energy and carbohydrate requirement to support training loads and meet body weight and strength goals.” To make it even more complicated, the optimal rower diet varies depending on whether they’re in winter training, or if it’s the week before a regatta, the night before the regatta, or race day.


All parents are encouraged to become knowledgeable about nutrition and training diets for athletes, rowers, and the special needs of rowers on race days. The articles listed below are intended to provide a resource for parents and rowers. Feed your rower at home according to these guidelines and they should at least be nutritionally ready to compete.


Nutrition Strategies for Rowing:


Nutrition Needs for the High School Rower:


New Trier High School Athletics Nutrition Guide for Athletics:


U.S. Junior Women’s National Team Nutrition and Training Diets – Important Considerations:

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