If you’ve ever been an athlete, you know you need to pay attention to your diet. But what about feeding 650 athletes across 24 different sports? That’s the daily challenge for Amy F., Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine and Sports Performance at Indiana University.
In the past, student athletes’ heavy schedules have often prevented them from getting proper nutrition. Between morning practice, classes, evening practice, homework, and part-time jobs, 74% of student athletes were not meeting recommended nutrition goals.1
Schools are now going beyond providing just one meal a day for student athletes – they’re giving them customizable options, including snacks for an on-the-go lifestyle. To date, Kellogg has partnered with more than 100 Division I schools to develop KFuel stations that offer great food options like dried fruit, protein bars, fruit chews and cereal for time-crunched athletes. They’re available at more than 100 of these schools, as well as in a few major league clubhouses and NBA locker rooms.
Hear how Amy helps busy athletes who barely find time for breakfast, lunch or dinner, stay on top of their game.
What role does snacking play for an athlete?
AMY: Snacking is very important. The student-athletes’ days are very busy and they are often running from weights to class to tutors to practice. So, in addition to eating 3 well-balanced meals, the snacks that they choose to eat also help fuel their brains and body for practice and school.
What are some of the best options in snacks for Athletes?
AMY: We worked with Kellogg to create Kellogg’s KFuel stations at places on campus where athletes train and study. The fueling stations at Assembly Hall and the Academic Center feature Whole Grain Cheez-ITs, Animal Crackers, Special K chips, Bear Naked Bars, Nutri Grain bars and fruit snacks at our fueling station.
What is the decision process for selecting foods and snacks?
AMY: As a nutrition staff we look at a few things when deciding what foods are made available. Each Oasis has a slightly different purpose. For example, the Assembly Hall Oasis is for quick fuel right before a practice and can occasionally be used as a recovery. We look to make sure we have good carbohydrates in addition to protein sources available. We do that for all of our fueling stations. We also like to introduce new products occasionally so the athletes don’t get bored of the same options.
How do you address varying nutrition needs for different sports?
AMY: There are definitely different nutrition needs for the varying sports as well as athletes within the same sport. We work hard to educate the athletes on the types of foods that their bodies need depending on their sport and current training that is occurring. We meet with teams to discuss proper fueling and recovery. For instance, I go to Volleyball once a week during the off-season and bring a recovery snack to the end of conditioning and also am able to provide a quick nutrition message to the team. Also, by being visible the teams are way more likely to ask questions.
We also use emoji’s to indicate foods that best for certain nutrients. Then there are small table signs that provide more information on the nutrient and why it is important to athletic performance and health.
What has been the response from student athletes around the fueling stations?
AMY: Our athletes have given us positive feedback. They’ve said they appreciate the many options they have to fuel and recover their bodies to help them reach their highest potential.
The K Fuel Team is available to answer any questions you have about this program. For more resources and best practices from sport dieticians, check out http://kfuel.tumblr.com/ and twitter.com/k_fuel.
1Shriver LH, Betts NM, Wollenberg G. Dietary intakes and eating habits of college athletes: are female college athletes following the current sports nutrition standards? Journal American College Health 2013;61(1):10-16.