Because Athletes Need To Eat Too
College athletes are some of the world’s fittest competitors. They are younger, stronger, and fantastic athletes in so many ways. But that doesn’t mean they are eating the right food and that their nutrition is at an optimum level.
Juggling schoolwork with sports and a lot of extra-curricular activities in between, many college athletes rely heavily on commercially prepared meals and fast food to appease their appetites.
While it may be convenient, consuming fast food does have adverse effects that may impact an athlete’s performance in the long run.
To change all that, the University of Kentucky has now made it a point that all their college athletes must know how to prepare healthy yet satisfying meals.
Leading the charge is University of Kentucky athletics dietitian Monica Fowler, the head of the cooking school at the Nutter Training Center for members of the volleyball, women’s basketball, softball, swimming and diving, gymnastics and football teams, and a few men’s basketball players.
The goal was simple, Fowler said: Get them comfortable in the kitchen.
In the process of training them to whip up their own meals, Fowler also discuss nutrition, calories, stuff athletes need to know to help them come up with treats that do not just satisfy their cravings but to make sure that they get all the nutrients and vitamins they need to keep themselves at top shape.
“We tried for it to be really loose. … We tailored the lessons to build on each other,” she said. “The goal was to teach them to say, ‘When I go to the grocery I buy foods I can cook with,'” meaning they buy ingredients rather than frozen processed food.
“One of the common complaints we hear is that they are in class during the day, training at night and early in the morning, so they say they don’t have time to cook dinner,” she said. “So we teach them to make soup so they have enough for several days. We try to give them ideas where they’re not feeling like they have to come home and make dinner every night.”
For Fowler, the objective is simple yet essential.
Student athletes who came in as kitchen novices are now preparing their own healthy meals from scratch.
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