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Fueling For Excellence

Greta Frye

Fueling For Excellence

Eating the right foods is as equally important as the physical training athletes complete on a daily basis. “Athletic performance is more than just a matter of training and skill development. Your body needs a fueling and hydration plan for training, performing, recovering and building muscle,” said Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Jana Dengel.

Dengel has worked with the EPHS Cross-Country, Track and Field, Football, Nordic Ski, Soccer, Gymnastics, Dance, and the Boys Varsity Hockey Team.  She specializes in fueling high school and professional athletes in the Twin Cities area by making practical recommendations based on scientific evidence that can help improve performance.

Dengel has worked as a sports nutritionist for seven years, and one of her favorite parts of her job is working with the Eden Prairie Boys Varsity Hockey Team. She started working with the Boys Varsity Hockey team in 2008 when Nic Leddy (Mr. Hockey and Stanley Cup Winner) was a junior at EPHS. Coach Lee Smith was looking for a way to help the athletes gain muscle, improve performance and stay healthy during the season.

Senior Defensemen, Gray Erwin said, “Every hockey practice and game is played at such a high intensity that it is important to make sure you are eating as many, if not more, calories as you expend. This is so you do not lose weight and become weaker as the season goes on. “

To do so, Dengel recommends to the hockey team specific meal plans for each individual athlete. For some, it may mean to increase their portion sizes, for others, it may mean to eat certain proteins and carbohydrates to increase their performance before a game or practice. “A sound fueling plan can really be the difference between that good athlete and a great athlete,” said Dengel.



Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Jana Dengel provided student athletes looking for a winning edge a plan for optimal nutrition with these tips.

Eat Breakfast:  Skipping breakfast is a common mistake for high school athletes.  Eating a healthy breakfast helps you get ready for training for afternoon practice and help increase your metabolism.  Try one of these breakfast ideas if you are short on time.

High Energy Berry Smoothie: Blend 1 cup frozen berries, 1 cup of 100% juice and 6 oz. Greek yogurt.

Sports Bag Breakfast: Pack low fat chocolate milk (DynoMoo is a great nutritious choice), a granola bar and fresh fruit.

Portable breakfast:  Whole grain bagel with peanut butter, banana and milk.

Eat a Balanced Lunch:  Eating a balanced lunch will help you feel great and get you through a tough practice.  Here are examples of a balanced lunch meal to power your practices.

Bagel, turkey slices, apple, carrots, milk

Spaghetti, meatballs, tomato sauce, salad, yogurt

Burrito with rice, beans, meat, grapes, milk

Brown rice, baked chicken, broccoli, yogurt, berries

Bring a Water Bottle and Snack:  Athletes should eat every 3-4 hours for optimal energy.  Bring a snack and drink fluids throughout the day to optimize your performance during practices and competition.  Some suggestions include string cheese plus with grain crackers, energy bar with yogurt, almonds, apricots, or a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

During Workouts:  A hydration plan is important for student athletes looking to get the most of their workouts.  Drink 16-24 ounces/hour as a general rule of thumb.  For workouts lasting more than 1 hour, include a sports drink with carbohydrate.  Because each athlete has different needs, a customized plan is recommended to determine the correct amount for hydration plan.


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