Royals Team Nutritionist Mitzi Dulan shares her tips for fueling up like the Boys in Blue.
Mitzi Dulan juggles many impressive jobs—author, spokesperson, speaker and Pinterest maven—but in the throes of the American League Championship Series, there’s one title we’re particularly captivated by: team nutritionist for the Kansas City Royals.
“Food is fuel. In so many ways, smart nutrition is the same for our Boys in Blue as us and our kids,” Dulan says. “Granted, most of us aren’t required to fuel our bodies like high performance machines as a part of our job goals to get back to the World Series. However, it’s important for all of us non-pro athletes to also be smart about how we fuel our bodies to optimize both our energy levels and health.”
Here are her tips for smart fueling:
1. Get nutty. Make sure you include nuts and seeds in your diet; nuts and seeds are an important source of healthy fat, protein and fiber. Some nutty options include: nut butters, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds and pistachios. Recently, Dulan made these Honey Peanut Butter Protein Energy Balls for the players the day before the Royals won the Central Division. She has made them ever since for every playoff game and has no intentions of stopping since the feedback has been so positive and they always eat them all even when she makes more.
“My energy balls help provide the players a tasty, satisfying smart snack that I make in my own kitchen,” Dulan says.
2. Power up the protein! Protein is so important for athletes to recover properly and boost their immune system and satisfy hunger. In addition to her protein energy balls, one of Dulan’s favorite ways to boost protein is with Flatout ProteinUP flatbreads, which can be easily customized. Plus, each flatbread has 12 grams of protein. This Peanut Butter Banana + Honey Roll Ups recipe is one of her favorites that both kids and adults love.
3. Eat a rainbow of colors. Eating a variety of colors is an excellent way to make sure everyone gets important phytonutrients from plant foods, which include: fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Some faves are watermelon, strawberries, bananas and grapes. Just like professional baseball players need to keep their immune systems strong for a long and grueling season, we also need to eat a rainbow of colors to stay healthy.
4. Try quinoa. Eating whole grains boosts the intake of important nutrients like protein, fiber and other vitamins and minerals. Quinoa is a whole grain that we have incorporated into several recipes at the ballpark. Other whole grains include: whole wheat bread, pasta, flatbreads, English muffins, brown rice or whole-wheat couscous.
5. Drink up. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water to stay well hydrated throughout the day. Avoid waiting until you are thirsty because that means you are already dehydrated. Your body is made up of mostly water and all of your cells need water to function properly.