Does your athlete want to add an extra edge to their game? Proper fueling is one strategy athletes and active students can use to optimize their performance. Research shows adequate nutrition can maximize gains in speed, strength, and agility; shorten the recovery period; provide nutrients that support overall health; and reduce the risk of injury and illness.
We recognize that athletes and active students have unique nutritional needs to help them perform their best. Performance Spotlight® is our nutrition guidance and education program designed specifically for them. The program brings nutrition recommendations based on guidelines from the NCAA, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, and current sports nutrition research right to the dining hall.
Our program highlights the three main components that athletes need to properly fuel and recover: protein, starches/grains, and vegetables.
- Protein: helps to build and repair muscle, regulate metabolism, and support immune health. Consuming protein immediately after exercise also helps shorten the recovery period.
- Starches/grains: provide carbohydrates, the body’s preferred fuel. Consuming carbohydrates before and during exercise provides energy, prevents low blood sugar, and contributes to central nervous system function. Completely depleting carbohydrate-based energy stores causes the body to break down protein for energy — delaying recovery and hurting future performance.
- Vegetables (and fruit): support the whole body with micronutrients — the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that promote general health, contribute to metabolism, and serve as antioxidants.
These components can be combined to build a Performance plate — a preactivity meal that provides the fuel athletes and active students need through foods that are easy to digest. We recommend building Performance plates at lunchtime, or three to four hours prior to activity, to give food time to break down and distribute nutrients to muscles. Athletes can use this guide to help build plates according to their level of activity.
Find Performance picks by locating the runner icon on menus online or in the Touch of SAGE® app, as well as on signs in the dining hall. To help elevate performance, athletes should build their plates every day according to our training and game day recommendations.
Take a look at this video to learn more about Performance Spotlight®. Here’s to another year of outstanding performances!