Major league nutrition
There are so many factors that go into getting the body ready for sports, be it a race, game, match or other competition. Training is all about preparation. It’s about getting the mind and body in prime condition to have the best possible outcome on game day.
Whether you’re an amateur or pro, getting your body ready is about more than just getting your legs in shape – in order to perform at your peak, nutrition is equally as important as your workouts.
A group of employees at General Mills – like myself – wh0 help create some of our most popular snacks and other products, recently had the privilege of hosting the chef and nutritionist from Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals, to learn what it takes to prepare professional athletes on a daily basis.
And, what they turn to for nutrition.
One thing was clear, the Cardinals have plenty to eat … and often!
Simon Lusky, who graduated from Johnson & Wales with degrees in nutrition and culinary, led us for a short journey into his interesting career with food and kitchen creations.
He also shared the Cardinals’ nutrition philosophy with us:
• Strive for individualized nutrition for players
• Clean, fresh and local food
• A food-first approach
• Preventative nutrition
A typical day in the life with the Cardinals for Lusky begins around 9 a.m. when he arrives at the ballpark on a game day and immediately starts putting away orders, turns on the kitchen, and starts contacting vendors and suppliers to get the fresh food for the day and week.
From 10 a.m. to Noon he is prepping lunch for the team. Some examples are delicious items like pecan-smoked free range chicken wings, roasted organic brussel sprouts, and thinly sliced Texas style grass-fed beef brisket.
Around 2 p.m., Lusky likes to meet with individual players to discuss their individual daily nutrition plans.
From 3-5 p.m., he starts getting the batting practice meal prepped and finished. Some examples for this meal are roasted tomatillo white bean turkey chili, sautéed sweet yellow plantains, or adobe baked zucchini.
He cleans the kitchen and dining room from 5-6 p.m., then moves on to making pre-game shakes and snacks.
All of this prep and treatment of the players leads to the game, usually starting around 7 p.m.
While he watches the game from TV’s in the Cardinals kitchen (and being ready for the possibility of extra innings or injured players), Lusky is prepping and making the post-game dinner. He told us a typical meal for the players to eat before they go home might be seared red grouper in a white wine sauce, gluten free and whole wheat pasta, barley Portobello and pea risotto and roasted garlic broccoli rabe.
In listening to Lusky, it was clear that the Cardinals are serious about making sure their players are properly fueled and energized, in order to have a successful season.