Power Your Performance

By Chef Jonathan R. Poyourow '03, RD, LD
September 2015

As a sports dietician at Johnson & Wales University, I get questions all the time about how athletes should eat. I teach students simple ways to get calories, carbohydrates and protein that athletes need throughout the day into food.

One great recipe students have learned to make is homemade sports bars. This is an excellent snack for on the go, low in calories with a good amount of carbohydrates and protein that athletes enjoy. Students make these bars for Division One schools across the country and during their internships with professional sports teams.

What about fueling the vegetarian athlete? There are a lot of vegetarian athletes out there. One of my favorite dishes is a wheat berry salad. Wheat berries are the whole wheat granule with the germ endosperm. Wheat berries are very high in carbohydrates, as well as protein, which is very important to vegetarians. By adding walnuts, you get some protein and heart healthy fat. Celery adds crunch and texture. Pickled radish has that little bit of acid and vinegar components to make the salad nice and bright. Finish with chopped mint, basil and vinaigrette, and what you end up with is a generous dish that is great for a light lunch or snack in between meals. It’s also a great recovery dish for any vegetarian athlete.

What about dinner? The athlete comes home and needs a hearty meal. Here’s a perfect meal: chicken with red onion, bell pepper, black beans, tomatoes, and brown rice. Brown rice has more fiber than white rice. It won’t spike your blood sugar the way white rice does. The athlete gets carbohydrates from the brown rice and the beans and protein from the heart healthy fat in the avocado.

These are just a few healthy ways to fuel the athlete.