It's not always easy getting pro baseball players to eat healthy. But at Spring Training, 6 Johnson & Wales University culinary nutrition interns wowed them with low-fat food — that packed a flavorful punch.
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Now, students Shaun Doherty, John Droghetti, Ben Glanz, Tomas Membreño, Kepler Sprinkles and Joe Zezza share their advice:
1. Know What They LikeThe students worked with the players 7 days a week, on as many as 500 meals a day. “It didn’t take long to feel like we were one big
family,” says Tomas.
“Once you establish a rapport and get to know what foods they enjoy, you can translate that into effective strategies for improving their health — and their game."
2. Punch Up the FlavorTomas helped the players work on portion control, creating weekly low-fat menus broken down into 400-600 calorie segments.
He kept dishes flavorful with garlic, cilantro, and chipotle. “You want to have 55% carbs, 25% lean protein and 20% fat — but still taste good.”
3. Speak their LanguageThe Venezuelan, Dominican and Puerto Rican players appreciated Tomas’ emphasis on Latin American flavors — and when he explained nutrition concepts in Spanish.
He even went into players’ homes to demo healthy recipes and portion sizes. “That helped them understand how important it is,” he says.
4. Hit a Culinary Home Run“A lot of the players think healthy food is bland,” says Ben.
“But making healthy, flavorful food comes naturally to us. Knowing that our food is helping them play better is such a great feeling!”
5. Earn Your Standing Ovation And the players loved the new menu items.
“They gave the students a standing ovation when they left,” says Chris Miles, president of Cookin’ on Wood, the sports caterer that hired and supervised the students. “How cool is that?”
JWU’s partnership with the Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association makes it easier than ever for culinary nutrition students to work with major league athletes they see every night on ESPN. read more