Charlyn Fargo Ware: You Don’t Have to Be a Pro to Benefit from Winning Sports Nutrition | Your Health


While we’re all watching the World Series, we don’t often think about the nutrition that fuels players on both teams. But players on both the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals work with registered dietitians to provide them with a healthy eating plan.

Roberta Anding, the Astros’ dietitian, is in her ninth season, and Sue Saunders Bouvier is in her fourth season working with the Nationals as dietitian to the team.

“RDNs can help these gifted athletes meet their body composition goals, recover from the grind of a long season and help to prevent chronic illness,” Anding said. “Baseball performance goals also include guidance on appropriate supplement selection and use.”

At the beginning of the baseball season, both Anding and Bouvier set up training tables to address medical and performance goals. She works with a team that includes chefs, athletic trainers, strength coaches and the clubhouse manager.

“We try to help players address energy, endurance, recovery, focus and — this is particularly challenging when traveling across the country and playing day games after late night games — optimizing their sleep,” Anding said.

You may be more of a chair coach than an actual player in the World Series, but nutrition matters just as much for you and your little sports players, whether they’re participating in football, soccer, volleyball, cross country, wrestling or golf.

What should you be eating for good fuel for your sport of choice? A healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy. Skip the sugary drinks and desserts. This isn’t the time to try a fad diet or cut out foods like carbohydrates or dairy. Each food group gives your body nutrients it needs to perform well.

And while supplements may be needed at the professional level, most student athletes or weekend workout warriors really don’t need them. It’s always best to get the nutrients you need from healthy food.


Q: Is it safe to eat a medium-rare hamburger?

A: Probably not. It’s important to cook hamburgers to at least 155 degrees to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

Ground meats are more likely to carry E. coli and other bacteria than whole cuts of meat because grinding the meat mixes in any bacteria that might be present on the surface of the meat. Grilling a steak will kill surface bacteria, but ground meat has to be cooked to a higher temperature to ensure all the bacteria have been killed.

Lemon Chicken, Kale & Orzo Soup

Where I’m from, it’s getting to be soup weather. Here’s a healthy soup from Eating Well magazine.


» 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

» 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

» 1 teaspoon dried oregano and/or thyme, divided

» 1¼ teaspoon salt, divided

» ¾ teaspoon ground pepper, divided

» 2 cups onions, chopped

» 1 cup carrots, chopped

» 1 cup celery, chopped

» 2 cloves garlic, minced

» 1 bay leaf

» 4 cups unsalted chicken broth

» ⅔ cup orzo pasta, preferably whole-wheat

» 4 cups chopped kale

» 1 lemon, zested and juiced


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon oregano and/or thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onions, carrots and celery to the pan. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until vegetables are soft and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaf and remaining ½ teaspoon oregano.

Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Add orzo. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add kale and chicken, along with any juices. Continue cooking until the orzo is tender and the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes more.

Remove from heat. Discard bay leaf. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice and the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.


Serves 6 (1¼ cups each)

Per serving: 245 calories; 21 grams protein; 24 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fat; 42 milligrams cholesterol; 5 grams total sugar (0 grams added); 5 grams fiber; 639 milligrams sodium

— Charlyn Fargo Ware is a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee in Springfield, Ill., and the media representative for the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Contact her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter: @NutritionRd, or click here for additional columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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