Winning the Nutrition Game at the Battle Bar
Every Thursday afternoon, you might see student athletes swarm the window by the Kuch Center training room. I am a part of this rush, because I know that the Battle Bar and its amazing snacks await.
For many collegiate student athletes, prioritizing healthy eating habits can be especially difficult due to the amount of time and planning that may have to go into meals. It is just one more challenge atop balancing classes, practices, workouts, and other commitments. But we don’t have to dread this aspect of student athlete life any more. The new Battle Bar was established by nutrition specialist and trainer Sam Maorino to help student athletes by providing us with healthy snack options and educating us on food choices. It offers a variety of snack samples and recipes that student athletes can learn about and try out.
Sam told me about her passion for nutrition education and described how her “role as the nutrition specialist is to guide and educate student athletes about how to properly fuel their bodies and how to make healthy decisions when making food choices on their own.” Sam’s job involves meeting with individual student athletes, as well as full teams, to share her expertise and advice on topics from shopping at the grocery store to meeting weight goals.
When I asked Sam what inspired her to create the Battle Bar, she said she had student athletes’ interests and needs in mind. “I wanted to have a resource student athletes could easily access… and regularly educate these kids in a way that was not boring or making them sit in a class or Powerpoint, they do that enough in classes,” she explained. “The battle bar is something fun for them to come to and socialize with their fellow athletes, eat a good healthy snack before their next class, and take some educational notes from it as well if they like it and want to make it at home.”
This is where intern Brett Sciascia comes in. Sam described how he “is a great intern” and he “makes all the snacks and will also come up with some ideas for it.” Brett serves the free samples to student athletes at the window, while also educating us on healthy choices as we come up to grab them.
I can attest to the fact that every Battle Bar option I have tried has provided me with inspiration for what I can make at home. My favorite, so far, has been a tomato, mozzarella, and basil skewer drizzled with balsamic dressing. Other creations included protein balls, yogurt fruit cups, chocolate avocado pudding, and peach banana smoothies. I always get excited to see what will be offered each week, because all of the samples have been delicious and easy to make.
Sam and Brett post the recipes on the Arcadia Performance Instagram account so that student athletes can recreate them at home. For example, the fruit smoothies were made with a simple recipe. It consisted of two cups of frozen fruit (like peaches), one cup of fresh fruit (like banana), half a cup of water or milk, a quarter cup of yogurt, and one to two tablespoons of sweetener (like honey). These are easy and accessible ingredients that do not take forever to put together.
Nutrition is a significant component of our health. For student athletes, it is just as necessary to focus on as lifting, practicing, and recovering. Having access to new snack options with simple recipes and ingredients can be a game changer.