Anatomy of an athlete’s plate


Team Dinner:

At typical volleyball team dinners, the focus is on communication. Off the court, the athletes have more freedom to talk about what they want.

“We get to know each other better because … we can be ourselves and talk about random stuff and not just volleyball,” senior Brooke Glasnapp said.

However, at a recent volleyball team dinner, the athletes did more than just chat. The girls rolled out a tank of helium and beat each other with Chinese yo-yos.

“We were like choking each other and smacking each other [with the Chinese yo-yos] for three hours,” senior Grace Miller said, “And then we sucked on some helium … And we had a baby shower, for [assistant coach] Jamie (Savage).”

Sophomore Allie Knapp’s mother also set up a candy station for the athletes.

“It was Halloween themed,” Glasnapp said, “And we had cups that said ‘Free State Volleyball’ on them, and then there was scoops, so we scooped like candy corn, Mike and Ikes, and there was some packs of gum and granola bars and peanuts.”

At upcoming volleyball games, the athletes will also have new forms of celebration from the team dinner.

“We were all making handshakes up the other night at the team dinner that we will do for points and stuff,” Knapp said.


Game Day (Eat):

Glasnapp and Miller don’t switch up their eating routines on the day of a game.

“[I eat] my normal lunch, so like a sandwich, and I have yogurt in the morning and lots of chocolate,” Miller said, “I don’t really change what I eat before a game … which is probably bad, but it’s like, ‘Eh.’ … Chocolate is good.”

Miller did, however, claim that she drinks more water on game days.

Knapp, on the other hand, sticks strictly to healthy foods.

“I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, a lot of protein,” Knapp said. “Usually [I’ll have] some type of a sandwich, and then I have my healthy, energy drink (Zipfizz) … that has a bunch of vitamins in it.”

On game days, the players are provided healthy, snack bags.

“[The snack bags] usually have a bagel or sandwich, fruit snacks, chips [and] an apple,” Glasnapp said. “… [After the game,] I usually eat the rest of the stuff that’s in the goody bag because they give us a lot of food … Sometimes I’ll go home, and my mom will have pizza or eggs or something like that.”

Miller’s post game meal is usually a Wendy’s or McDonald’s chicken caesar salad brought to her by her mother.


Game Day (Avoid):

Miller doesn’t hit up Starbucks to wake her up on the day of a game.

“[I won’t drink] coffee because it makes my stomach upset, but other than that I don’t really avoid anything,” Miller said. “Maybe pop or something.”

Knapp tries to stay away from any unhealthy snack foods.

“[I avoid] junk foods, candy [and] pop,” Knapp said. “They make you feel kind of shaky and not full.”

Cross Country:

Team Dinner:

Unlike other team dinners where the meal is ever changing, spaghetti is always on the menu at a cross country team dinner. Junior Lindsey Wethington feels that the dinners aren’t only for eating mass amounts of pasta, but also relaxing and getting to know teammates.

“[The atmosphere] is very fun … It’s not stressful,” Wethington said. “It helps you keep your mind off of [the race] and just makes for a more enjoyable evening than if you were just sitting at home thinking about racing.”

Along with relaxing, athletes often enjoy participating in games or activities including volleyball, sack racing and tag.

“We play strange yard games that I’ve never seen before (tailgate toss and horseshoes), we race little kids (usually siblings of an athlete), we talk, we gossip,” junior Thomas Becker said.


Meet Day (Eat):

On the morning of a meet, senior Bailey Sullivan is not too concerned about how well she eats.

“When I get up, I normally have some toast with cinnamon and sugar and some bacon,” Sullivan said. “… I don’t know if you’re actually supposed to do that (eat bacon) or not, but I do.”

When Becker wakes up, he always eats an english muffin with an egg sandwiched inside.

Sophomore Tanner Hockenbury loads up on carbs before a race.

“[On the day of a meet] I will have a Clif Bar, a banana [and] bagels,” Hockenbury said.

Wethington tends to consume less than the others when she wakes up. Usually, she has a slice of toast with peanut butter in the morning.

After the meet is over, some of the athletes grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant. Hockenbury prefers to go to El Mezcal with a group of friends whereas Wethington only needs the restaurant to be convenient.


Meet Day (Avoid):

If offered a lemon or an orange before a race, Becker would decline.

“I don’t usually like citrus fruits, those are bad,” Becker said, “And chili, chili is bad. Basically anything that’s not easy to digest.”

Sugary and greasy foods are also on some of the runners no-go lists for meet day.

“Anything really greasy, I usually try to stay away from … [also] anything that’s really filling, or that’s going to stick with me for a long time,” Sullivan said.

Boys Soccer:

Team Dinner:

Playing FIFA soccer 14 (a soccer video game), wrestling around and riding ducks while eating anything from pasta to barbeque are all common activities at soccer team dinners.

“It gets pretty crazy, at one particular team dinner, we convinced Will Laufer to ride a duck around the pool,” senior Chris Allen said. “There was some other things that went along with that, but those go unsaid … One time there was a big wrestling tournament, and we just got to pick a bunch of people to go at each other, it was great fun.”

Junior Randall Schmidt enjoys spectating the wrestling matches.

“There’s been some good battles … I thought Jordan Patrick versus Toufik (Ahmmed) was funny, that was pretty good,” Schmidt said.

As well as messing around and having a good time, players also holds conversation about soccer.

“[There is] lots of talking and conversation about the games, upcoming game tomorrow or games we’ve played, just lots of soccer talk,” sophomore Jordan Patrick said.


Game Day (Eat):

When Allen wakes up, he starts his day out with a traditional breakfast.

“On the day of a game, it starts out with breakfast, I’ll eat eggs and bacon and some yogurt,” Allen said, “But I try to stick to a lot of protein and carbs. I have turkey for lunch.”

Patrick has a Clif Bar before school and then has a ham sandwich for lunch at school with his choice of juice.

Although Allen focuses on getting enough protein, he believes that he shouldn’t have too much a few hours before the game.

“I don’t really eat too much before the game,” Allen said. “They say you’re supposed to eat two and a half, three hours before, like some more protein, but I just stick to a granola bar and a banana, and it does me well.”

After an away game, the parents provide the players with sustenance.

“Usually it’s a Subway sandwich, and then someone makes a handmade sandwich,” Patrick said. “And then there’s typically a granola bar or fruit snacks, possibly an apple, and then Gatorade or water, so nothing too junk food-ish, just something that tides you over.”

Often times, Schmidt’s parents give him food once he returns home from a game.

“My parents will sometimes have Chipotle [at home] which has chicken and all the good stuff,” Schmidt said.

Allen, however, wolfs down whatever he can find.

“[I’ll eat] anything in sight really,” Allen said. “I’ll go home and have leftover anything, pasta, anything, it doesn’t really matter. Not a lot of sugary stuff.”


Game Day (Avoid):

A Big Mac and fries doesn’t sound appealing to Schmidt during the soccer season.

“I really don’t have fast food at all anymore because I’m constantly playing soccer,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt and Patrick also avoid eating sugary substances such as soda and candy. Allen tends to avoid cereal because it doesn’t fill him up.

Girls Swimming:

Team Dinner:

The topic of conversation at a swim team dinner can be about anything except swimming.

“We try and steer it (the conversation) away from swimming, so we don’t get too psyched out about things, so you know whether its just like how hard practice has been or what’s going on in school,” junior Chloe Riedemann said.

Swimmers aren’t ones to stick around at team dinners though.

“It’s normally pretty late, so we all have to go do our homework,” junior Katherine LaFever said.

Junior Eliza Anderson feels that the time teammates spend together at a team dinner helps them get prepared for the next day’s meet.

“You’re all getting ready together, getting excited together, and it makes it all seem so much more official, and everybody is getting pumped,” Anderson said. “So when you actually go to the meet you know you’re all ready.”


Meet Day (Eat):

Before a meet, Anderson likes to have a filling meal for breakfast and lunch.

“I usually have a good breakfast, like eggs or bacon,” Anderson said. “And then if it’s after lunch I eat a sandwich and a lot of fruit because that just … tastes good, and it helps me.”

Riedemann also munches on fruit, however, she fills herself up on carbs on the day of a meet.

“I usually have some sort of carb whether it’s bread or bagels, waffles with fruit and juice,” Riedemann said. “[For lunch I have] more carbs … Leftovers, like a sandwich.”

LaFever’s breakfast consists of eggs and toast while her lunch varies each time.

Anderson and LaFever snack constantly throughout the meet. While LaFever and Anderson both snack on fruits, one of Anderson’s typical snacks is also jelly beans.

“I just have this weird thing with jelly beans,” Anderson said. “Sugar just works really well with me. I’ve been doing it since I [was] like ten, and I just always have jelly beans, so it’s kind of a tradition … It just gets me energized.”

After the meet is over, the team occasionally stops by Noodles and Company or McAlister’s Deli for a hearty meal. On one occasion, the team stopped at a Fazoli’s.

“We all went and ate like a ton of breadsticks,” LaFever said. “… We all just kind of obsess over them.”


Meet Day (Avoid):

Riedemann wouldn’t be taking a handful of Anderson’s jelly beans before diving in to the pool.

“I try to avoid soda, but that’s pretty much all the time,” Riedemann said. “… And not too many sweets, no junk food, just try to keep it healthy, and get my body ready to go.”

LaFever doesn’t indulge herself with large meals on meet day.

“[I avoid] greasy things, heavy meals pretty much just because they stay with you a long time, and you don’t want something heavy weighing you down,” LaFever said.

Dairy products are also not recommended near race time. In addition to this, Anderson won’t consume ham during the day.

“[I won’t eat] ham and cheese because [they] take a really long time to digest,” Anderson said. “Also dairy products … Can make your stomach really upset.”


General Sports Nutrition Suggestions From Registered Dietitian Shannon Jones of Simple Solutions:

  • Night Before:

Substantial, high carb meal if the event is in the morning


  • Breakfast:

Mostly carbohydrates; a little protein is fine

Substantial meal if the event is in the afternoon or evening


  • Lunch:

Light, carb based meal if the event is in the afternoon

Substantial meal if the event is in the evening


  • Post competition:

To recover, eat foods that are high in carbs with small amounts of protein


  • Avoid on competition day:

Fried foods and large amounts of fat


  • Hydration:

Drink water 2 hours before the event then wait until 5-15 minutes before the event to hydrate again. During the event, drink every 15-20 minutes. (4-8 ounces = 4-8 gulps)

Time Required for digestion:

Large meal 3-5 hours

Smaller meal 2-3 hours

Liquid Meal 1-2 hours

Small snack 0-1 hour