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  • Travis Mitchell

Pack your cooler like a winner.

As a performance coach I naturally keep an eye on what athletes eat. It never ceases to amaze me to see the things athletes of all ages put in their body on game day, especially during tournaments. As a high school coach I get to see it up close. One of our girls' father used to bring her a nerd slushy from Sonic right before games. I once saw one of our players eating a previously frozen fried chicken breast (think Hormel), just before the first pitch. When our team was literally minutes from the State Finals in 2016 I saw our players eating Burger King, Subway, Little Ceasars, and washing it down with soda. Luckily we were so amped with adrenaline none of them went into a food coma.

Bottom line, if your athletes are eating trash- they are going to feel like trash, play like trash, and leave the parents and coaches wondering why they looked "flat" and "didn't play with energy". It's not difficult to imagine what athletes need between/before games, some complex carbs, fats, protein and some simple carbs for immediate energy.

A couple rules of thumb to use for snacks: No soy protein isolate. Less than10g sugar. Complex carb source is low glycemic, such as oats. Less ingredients the better! Here's a few snacks that generally fit the mold.

Bar's. Bobo's Oat Bars, Perfect Bar, and Lara Bar. These are delicious and pretty good for you. I promise your athlete will approve.

Smoothie to go. Pack homemade smoothies and/or shakes in a "Yeti" or similar thermos. There are quite a few thermos' out there that will keep a smoothie or shake cold and delicious all day long. If you make it at home like one of the recipes I've promoted on previous blogs, I promise it will do more for your athlete than that $4 Odwalla with 64 grams of Sugar and fake soy protein!

Siggi's Yogurt Parfait. Put yogurt in tupperware; add in cashews, chia seeds, and berries. Packed with protein, low in sugar, and slower burning carbohydrates.

I'll leave the meals for another time, just stay away from the Hormel fried frozen chicken.

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