Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

Is Sodexo offering healthy food options to athletes?

Posted on November 12, 2016 in Sports
By USM Free Press

By Erin Brown

Anyone who eats is able to notice the difference certain foods can make in how you feel and perform. A Number Seven at McDonald’s will leave you feeling more sluggish than a salad with grilled chicken. Carbs will slow you down more than a serving of fruit.

Athletes certainly know this to be true when it comes time to compete. From the student level to the professional level, it is important for an athlete’s body to be performing at maximum power, and a lot of that relies on healthy dietary routines.

At the Division Three level, nutrition is not a huge staple in the athletic department at USM. There are no team nutritionists, or even one for the entire department for that matter. Coaches do not have the time or provisions to make up a full diet for their team. This means the athletes must rely on themselves to stay on track with their healthy eating initiatives.

Majority of the athletes on USM’s 22 Division Three teams are residential students who frequent the campus’s dining halls and other eateries, but are these spots offering an adequate amount of healthy options for these athletes to perform at their best?

USM’s new food vendor, Sodexo, moved in this summer, and athletes all over campus hope that it will fulfill the dietary routines they need to stick to in order to have a successful season. The vendor has kept a lot of similar parts the dining halls have previously offered, but implemented new options as well. The vendor not only added the calorie amounts for different food options, but also brought on a dietician for all students with a meal plan to come to for tips about weight loss, weight gain or dealing with dietary restrictions.

Junior basketball player Cam Scott  has the 14 meal-per-week plan offered by the university. Scott typically tries to eat all three meals a day, but finds it can be tough to get them all with his particular plan and his class and practice schedules. As a regular in both the Brooks Dining Hall and The Food Court at Woodbury, Scott has become familiar with figuring out how to maintain a healthy diet on campus.

He finds making these choices difficult at times. He said that Sodexo does “a fairly good job offering multiple choices, they always have salad bar and they always have the pasta bar which are good choices. The variety is good, but could be better.” Former Southern Maine baseball player Chase Orava also said, “The cafe lets my routine work for the most part, but it is definitely a lot easier to be unhealthy in the cafe.”

After spending the summer on campus, Scott also has gotten familiar with the new food vendor on campus. “They [Sodexo] do things a little differently. Last year they always gave you a choice of chicken or salmon at the grille. Now they’ve started to change it up. Which is okay, but a lot of times if you don’t like what’s there, other options are slim.”

Athletes also expressed interest in the idea of a nutritionist, who could easily set out a game plan for what the teams should be eating and when. Though Sodexo does not have an abundance of choices for these players, the on-campus dietitian can help keep athletes on track throughout their respective seasons.

With the dietitian on hand, and Sodexo attempting to be more health conscious with its calorie counting, student athletes have more resources to stay on track with their in season diets.

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