Whoever wins the 2019 World Series, the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals each benefit from working with registered dietitian nutritionists who are experts in sports nutrition.
Houston’s Roberta Anding and Washington’s Sue Saunders Bouvier – both of whom are members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Academy’s Sports, Cardiovascular Wellness and Nutrition dietetic practice group – provide their teams with a competitive edge that begins with healthful eating.
Anding is in her ninth season with the Astros and Bouvier is in her fourth year with the Nationals. They are longtime friends whose teams share a spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla. Bouvier calls Anding a role model for herself and RDNs throughout the country in virtually all sports.
“Players at the professional level are genetically gifted,” Anding says. “RDNs can help these gifted athletes meet their body composition goals, recover from the grind of a long season and help to prevent chronic illness. Baseball performance goals also include guidance on appropriate supplement selection and use.”
Among their baseball responsibilities, Anding and Bouvier review pre-season labs and address medical nutrition therapy concerns among players. “I construct training tables at spring training and at Minute Maid Park to address any medical and performance goals,” Anding says.
“Today’s athletes are smart and often well-read,” Anding adds. “Sports dietitians need to have experience to function at the highest level. I am grateful to have many great colleagues at the professional level. No sports dietitian works without a team including chefs, certified athletic trainers, strength coaches and the clubhouse manager. Talent wins games and sports RDNs fuel greatness.”
Bouvier says she works closely with the Nationals’ head of medical services, strength and conditioning coaches and team chef. “We try to help players address energy, endurance, recovery, focus and – this is particularly challenging when traveling across the country and playing day games after late night games – optimizing their sleep.”
The postseason carries even more challenges for a team’s RDN. “We won’t know if or where a team is traveling oftentimes until midnight after all the games have been played and the results are in,” Bouvier says. “We have to create menus that are exciting, not repetitive and cater to different cultural tastes, all the while keeping principles of performance nutrition in mind.”
To locate an expert in sports nutrition, visit www.eatright.org/find-an-expert.