For athletes, a healthy and balanced diet is critical for performance in competition. Eating healthy on campus, although it may not seem easy at first, is absolutely accomplishable. “Athletes at any level should want to treat their diet seriously and want to eat healthy,” said Zeke Nave (‘20).
The dining options on campus and a part of every student’s meal plan include Hamilton Commons (also known as SAGA), Joes, the Dow cart, Starbucks, Highland Java, Highland Blush, El Vaquero, Jimmy Johns and Pizza One.
While these options may not all seem the most healthy, many athletes find ways to eat balanced diets.
“Students don’t realize there are plenty of options at Saga, even if your goal is to eat healthy,” said Nave. Eating healthy at Hamilton Commons can be done simply by using all of your resources and customizing your meals.
“You can make most the the options healthy by yourself! Make salads, take the bun off of burgers and eat the veggies,” said Ally Wentworth (‘21).
“For breakfast, I am a huge smoothie guy. I use everything that they put out at the smoothie bar as well as my own protein and then peanut butter to top it off,” said Nave.
“The Mongolian station is one of my personal favorites, it provides all of the veggies you would want, a good source of protein from the meat and a healthy carb from the rice,” said Wentworth.
“At the My Zone station, you can order chicken breast, burgers or turkey burgers. I enjoy this because you can mix it up and eat it with a lot of other things offered around Saga,” said Wentworth.
Self-control can also be a huge part of keeping a healthy diet while on campus, and athletes know that struggle better than anyone.
“I think the two things I try to avoid are the main lines and the pizza bar. As much as I love Taco Tuesday and popcorn chicken, I love the reward of eating healthy and feeling great just a little bit more,” said Nave. “Limit the desserts, but don’t be afraid to indulge every once in awhile,” said Wentworth.
Successful athletes are often a product of their diet, and many athletes at Alma are happy to help younger students figure out their best options.
“I would advise the younger athletes to try to change their eating habits early on and build a routine of making good eating decisions before they begin making the typical college kid decisions of late night binge eating,” said Nave.
“Start trying new things on the salad bar, check out MyZone and all that it offers and don’t be afraid to be the friend who refuses to eat a slice of pizza,” said Nave.
“Take advantage of the to go fruit station; the apples, oranges and bananas are great snacks for when you’re on the go and great for you right before practice,” said Wentworth.
Eating on campus does not have to result in the ‘Freshman Fifteen’, in fact, it can be the opposite.
With all of the options for customizing meals in Hamilton, choosing healthy snacks from Joes, and the occasional Pizza One cheat meal, student athletes have all of the tools they need to make their diet the best it can be.