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Nutritional athletic training table added to lunch options

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When school starts Wednesday, Broken Arrow High School athletes, and all students for that matter, will have the opportunity to eat lunch from a nutritional training table featuring a menu specifically geared for Tiger athletes.

Fostering a concept of the college athletic nutritional training tables, executive athletic director Steve Dunn, assistant athletic director Melenda Knight and strength and conditioning coordinator Cody Ellett approached child nutrition director Luanne Goodacre with their idea.

The goal is to insure that Broken Arrow Tiger athletes are eating a healthy lunch with the most beneficial nutrients.

“I had no idea the guidelines that these meals have to fit into were so strict,” Ellett said. “Luanne and child nutrition were awesome. Any questions we had they were on top of it.”

Senior child nutrition coordinator and dietitian Emily Peterson worked with Ellett in designing the menu.

“I went through a nutrient analysis to make sure what Cody suggested and what he wanted to fuel his athletes met our federal guidelines,” Peterson said. “It was breaking down different items, presenting it to the athletes to see if it was something they would even eat. That is the biggest obstacle. We can make these items, but if they’re not going to eat it then what’s the point.”

The menu consists of items like double cheeseburgers, double chicken breast paninis, spaghetti and meatballs and sushi. Cost will range from $2.85 to $3.50. Free and reduced lunches will be available to those students who are eligible. The lunch training table will be based in Tiger Field House.

Keeping with Broken Arrow Child Nutrition practices already in place, there will be no fried foods served and all breads and carbohydrates will be whole grain.

“I think it’s exciting to have the kids involved too, and having a different option that is geared to fueling the athlete,” Peterson said. “But it does get everyone’s mind open to it eating right, so that is good.”

Ellett likened the idea of eating at a training table to most student-athletes’ dreams of playing a sport professionally.

“I tell them to prepare like a professional,” Ellett said. “If that’s what you want then start preparing now. You’re not going to start in five years. That will be too late. Professionals don’t each Cheetos for lunch. Professionals don’t wake up and have Dr. Pepper and a Pop Tart on the way to workouts. They are diligent and thorough with their diet. They eat the right things.

“It will be different from kid to kid on what they should be eating, and how much and how often, but by and large, with high school kids, it’s very generic. You can do so many little things just to clean up their diet. Instead of having a piece of pizza and French fries for lunch you have spaghetti and meatballs, roasted potatoes, a side salad and some fruit – and that’s one of the actual full meals they’re going to have at the training table.”

The training table menu calorie count, which is established by the federal government, will be between 750 and 850 calories per meal.

Establishing Tiger Nutrition training table aligns with the mission and vision of Broken Arrow Athletics.

“Our mission is to build champions for life by creating an environment that inspires our students to achieve their highest potential academically, athletically, and personally,” Dunn said. “By offering such a research-based, nutritious meal two times a day, we are creating an environment that will lead to improved performance and an awareness of healthy life skills that will last forever.”

The lunch time training table is just the beginning of this program. An evening meal program, which is free, will start shortly after Labor Day. The after-practice nutritional initiative will be under the federal government’s Children and Adult Care Food program, which sets the guidelines for districts’ summer feeding programs.

Through this program, which also is open to all students, athletes will be able to eat a healthy meal after practice. Plus it will provide boxed meals to athletes for road games. The evening meal will be served in the BAHS cafeteria from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“Our vision is to create the best interscholastic athletic experience in the country, and that takes being bold and taking everything to the next level,” Dunn said. “We are so grateful and thankful for Luanne and her amazing staff for making this a reality for our students.”