As the Dallas Cowboys prep for another training camp in Oxnard, California, I’m focused on ways to keep the team fueled for success. As a registered dietitian and the team’s director of sports performance, I know firsthand the impact that proper fueling has on athletic performance. Snacks keep the team prepared for a tough day of training and ensures they’re optimally recovering from it.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how the Dallas Cowboys are upping their competitive edge through the power of nutritious snacks.
The Breakfast (and Snack) of Champions
Ah, cereal and milk. It’s called the breakfast of champions for a reason. We have an offensive tackle that especially loves this classic combo. Whether morning or afternoon, cereal and cold milk is a great choice because it provides lasting energy throughout the workout.
A popular request of the team: yogurt with all the parfait fixings. Parfaits, when made with yogurt, whole grains and fruit, offer carbohydrates. Carbs fuel the brain and power performance.
When something tastes good, you drink it – which makes chocolate milk an easy choice for our players. Of course, it’s a smart choice, too, with a carbs-to-protein ratio that’s great for building and repairing muscle.
A dehydrated athlete isn’t an effective athlete. Dehydration not only decreases speed and power but also cognitive performance (i.e., decision making). Our team has a hydration station, armed with foods that offer electrolytes and fluids. Milk, which is made of 90% water naturally and has electrolytes, is a great solution. Proper hydration means the team is more focused and ready to tackle the day – no pun intended.
Just like most competitive athletes, our players reach for shakes and smoothies post workout. Our smoothies are made with whey protein, which helps jump-start muscle recovery after a big day of doing intense drills.
Cheese Makes for Easy Snacking
We make snacks available to our players, even in their private spaces like the player’s lounge. It is stocked with string cheese, among other items. Whether the guys are headed to the field or home after a long day, cheese makes for easy snacking on the go. Cheese offers protein to keep the team satisfied from one meal to the next.
Food fuels performance. Eating right ensures our players can maintain a high level of intensity at practice with high-quality effort to match. For more ideas to up your snacking game, check out these easy, dietitian-approved post-workout snacks.