WPW is proud to bring you some baseball-focused dietary insights from a pro.
The following article is written by Kate Moran, RD, LDN, the team dietitian for the Minnesota Twins baseball team and minor league affiliates. Based out of Fort Myers, Florida, she focuses on nutrition education, counseling and menu development. She offers nutrition counseling as well as media, corporate wellness and public speaking services through her private practice The Educated Plate. Read her blog, The Educated Plate, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitte
Though it may not be the glove you wear or the bat you play with, the food you eat is an essential part of every players’ game. The right foods can provide you with immediate and long lasting energy, while other foods can be sure to slow you down.
What to Eat
Glycogen is the stored glucose in your muscles and liver that is used for energy during exercise. Before a game, topping off stores with carbohydrate intake is important in terms of available energy. Foods like fruits, vegetables, sweet potatoes, brown rice and whole grain bread are perfect carb-rich sources for long lasting energy. Having milk or yogurt provides added calories, protein and injury prevention vitamins and minerals like Calcium and vitamin D. Aim for a 3:1 carb to protein macronutrient ratio, keeping choices fairly low in fiber and fat for easy digestion.
What to Stay Clear From
Fried and processed foods high in sodium, fat and sugar are not in line with pre-exercise fueling. Chips, cookies, chicken fingers, French fries among others have little nutrient value, meaning they are low in vitamins and minerals. Fat is the slowest to digest in the body, so having a small amount of fat from milk or dairy, plant based oils or avocado is better for your heart and digestion. Having a lean protein and colorful carbohydrate is the pro choice over stopping at a fast food restaurant or having a ballpark frank.
Turkey, Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich
Lean proteins like chicken, turkey and fish paired with fresh vegetables and whole grain bread are perfect carb to protein combinations. White bread will give you a greater immediate energy boost but may leave you hungry sooner and result in a drop of energy half way through the game. Hummus is made from beans, sesame seeds and olive oil. It’s rich in protein and fat, and having a small amount (1-2Tbsp) will help you stay full throughout the game. Red pepper is high in vitamin C giving your immune system a boost!
The Twins AA affiliate, Chattanooga Lookouts RHP, Jake Reed prefers his own healthier version of a hot dog. He takes a slice of whole grain bread, spreads peanut or almond butter on it and tops it with half of a banana. Wrapping the bread around the banana, it’s an easy to carry snack while walking out to the field. The carbs from the banana and bread matched with protein and fat from the nut butter makes it a perfect blend of macronutrients.
Turmeric Chicken Salad Sandwich with Grapes and Walnuts
This protein is typically available in the clubhouse and inexpensive to purchase at the grocery store fresh or frozen for your home kitchen. Turmeric is a mild, but flavorful yellow spice that contains anti-inflammatory benefits from the main ingredient curcumin. This results in a faster recovery time by reducing inflammation in the muscles. Try making a healthy chicken salad by seasoning the chicken with turmeric and adding plain Greek yogurt, sliced grapes, red onion and a few crushed walnuts.
Avocado Sweet Potato Toast
The lazy-mans power-packed breakfast, lunch or dinner! It will take all but 2 minutes to toast bread, cut avocado and mash it onto the toast. This plant based fat is heart healthy since it’s high in unsaturated fats. Add a pan-fried egg or slice of low sodium turkey for extra protein. Try using half of a sweet potato instead of bread for extra carb or energy for the game. Adding fresh lemon and cracked red pepper can provide a burst of flavor without added high sugar or high sodium condiments.
Greek Tuna Melt Pita Pocket
White chunk tuna fish is an inexpensive way to get lean protein in before the game. Take whole wheat pita bread, add a bed of fresh spinach. Mix the tuna with a little olive oil and dill or parsley to give it a burst of flavor and richness without added salt or fat. Add the tuna mixture to the pita, then cover with kalamata or black olives, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese. Pop it in the toaster oven and let the cheese melt or add fresh squeezed lemon and eat cold.
The Twins AA affiliate, Chattanooga Lookouts Outfielder, Edgar Corcino takes a small sip of local honey pre- and post-game. He takes it before, for a boost of energy from carbohydrates and after to promote electrolyte replenishment and mineral absorption from the post game meal.