By Tatum Rochin
Most people don't have their own nutritionist to go shopping with them, but on Tuesday, over 30 student-athletes had this opportunity as they gathered at Sprouts Farmer's Market to participate in one of the Life Skills workshops regarding healthy eating on a budget.
Dr. Jay Sutliffe, associate professor for Health Sciences at Northern Arizona University, partnered with the athletic department to engage students on how to shop and meal prep with nutritional value in mind.
Brandy Walker, a freshman on the women's tennis team, recognizes the importance of the event and how nutrition plays a big part in athletes' lives.
"We don't often learn about the certain types of food that are beneficial to fueling us," Walker said. "As student-athletes, the fueling part is just as important as practice. It's also something that you can take beyond college and use for the rest of your life."
The first hour of the workshop was spent at the grocery store, where Dr. Sutliffe led the way while going over the pros and cons of certain foods, what should be eaten during competition season, and some good practices for eating after an athletic career was over. And then the fun really started. The food from Sprouts was brought back to campus where Sutliffe and the student-athletes prepped meals for the week and learned how to make creative snacks with superfood such as kale and quinoa.
"The workshop was extremely beneficial," Paige Gilchrist said, a senior distance runner. "The breakfast portion was important for me especially since we have multiple practice times and it's crucial to have good fueling throughout the day."
Gilchrist also used Tuesday night's workshop as a way to connect with a fellow distance runner, Junior Maggie Carruth.
"It was really fun to compare things we liked with each other," Gilchrest said. "We also learned what some good alternatives were for the foods we like now and how the newer options were more nutritionally dense."
The students wrapped up the night by taking their prepped meals home along with handouts which laid out how to shop, plan weekly meals, and labeled the nutritional value of certain foods.
"I think we achieved our goal today," said Gregg Schneider, Assistant Director for Student-Athlete Development. "This event is a good addition to our Life Skills program and I think the message of healthy eating and meal prepping was taken by our student-athletes very well."
Although in the future these student-athletes might not be going shopping with a personal nutritionist, they now have the skills needed to last them a lifetime.