Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tip of the week by Gloria Averbuch - Protein for Your Sports Diet

The Women’s Professional Soccer season is in the thick of the battle for statistical standings, with an eye toward the WPS All-Star Game presented by the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, on June 30th in Atlanta and on Fox Soccer Channel.

In the meantime, soccer fans are glued to the substantial action (both on and off the pitch!) of the World Cup.

Here is this week’s Nutrition Tip, an enlightening look at the topic of protein, which often seems to be surrounded by as much controversy as the World Cup!

Protein for Your Sports Diet

Like carbohydrates, protein-rich foods are also an important part of your sports diet. You should eat a protein-rich food at each meal. Some soccer players tend to either over- or under- consume protein, depending on their ideas about healthy eating and lifestyle. While it is true that young athletes have an increased need for protein due to the demands of their sports and the fact they are growing, most tend to consume more than they require.

Whereas high-protein eaters may frequently choose cheese omelets, fast food burgers and other meals filled with saturated fats, others bypass these foods in their efforts to eat a low-fat or vegetarian diet—but they neglect to replace beef with beans, or other appropriate substitutes. Or they equate healthy eating with low-cal protein like skinless chicken breast and avoid important carbs and good fats.

To meet your protein requirement, you should consume one or two protein rich foods per day.

 Recommended daily protein intake:
5 to 7 ounces (or ounce-equivalents; 140 to 200 g)

Here are some examples of protein-rich foods:

Tuna 6 oz (170 g) can, drained
Chicken   6-ounce breast
Peanut Butter    2-4 tablespoons
Kidney Beans   1 cup  

 Excerpted from Food Guide for Soccer—Tips & Recipes From the Pros, with Women’s Professional Soccer, by Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, RD. Available on or

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tip of the week by Gloria Averbuch - Celebrate the World Cup with Healthy Snacks

With World Cup fever firmly taken hold, and the trumpeting sound of the vuvuzelas heard wherever there’s a game, it’s time to turn to the best possible accompaniment to viewing the games; that means snacking!

Below is a dish which honors the heritage of many of the teams taking part in the World Cup, and features both nutritional benefits and taste.

In the meantime, Women’s Professional Soccer’s 2010 season continues to role on, with the WPS All-Star Game presented by U.S. Coast Guard Reserve kicking off on June 30th.

Boston Breakers Black Bean Spinach Dip
Here’s a tasty dip that’s a helpful recovery food because it is rich in both carbs and protein. Bring it to a post-game tailgate party, along with some baked chips.

1 15.5 ounce (440 g) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup (120 g) salsa
1 4.5 ounce (135 g) can chopped chilies
1 10-ounce box (300 g) chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 teaspoons cumin
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (8 ounces, 240 g), preferably low-fat
1 chopped jalapeno, as desired

Optional: 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro, or to taste

1. Mash the beans either by hand using the back of a fork or in a blender or food processor. Leave some beans whole, for varied texture.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the beans, salsa, chilies, spinach, cumin, cheese (cilantro and jalapeno).
3. Pour the bean mixture into a pie-plate or other similar baking dish. Bake in 350º F (180º C) oven until well heated, about 20-30 minutes.
4. Serve with baked corn chips.

Yield: 10 servings
Total Calories: 1,200 (without chips)
Calories per serving: 120
16 g Carbohydrate
9 g Protein
2 g Fat

 Excerpted from Food Guide for Soccer—Tips & Recipes From the Pros, with Women’s Professional Soccer, by Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, RD. Available on or

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tip of the week by Gloria Averbuch - Fruits & Vegetables

Soccer nutrition is also good nutrition. That is, consuming foods good for your game means enjoying foods good for your health as well. Below is useful information on some of the most valuable building blocks of your sports diet, the carbohydrates provided by fruits and vegetables. In addition, Women’s Professional Soccer players consume large amounts of fruits and vegetables in their diets.

Fruits and vegetables are also excellent sources of carbohydrates. But some players have trouble figuring out how to consume the recommended daily 2 cups (500 g) of fruits and 21/2 cups (600 g) of vegetables. As one 22-year-old sheepishly remarked, "I'm lucky if I eat that much in a week." The trick is to eat large portions. Most soccer players can easily enjoy a banana (counts as one cup fruit) and 8 ounces (one cup) of orange juice in the morning. That’s already the minimal 2 cups of fruit for the day! A big bowl of salad filled with colorful tomato, carrot, and pepper can account for the minimal recommended 21/2 cups of vegetables.

Fruits: Recommended Daily Intake—2 or more cups (500+ g)
Here’s what counts as “one cup”; hungry soccer players can easily consume double portions and achieve the recommended intake of two or more cups per day:

Orange Juice 8 ounces 240 ml
Apple 1 small 100 g
Banana 1 small 100 g
Canned Fruit 1 cup 240 g
Dried fruit 1/2 cup 80 g

Vegetables: Recommended Daily Intake—21/2 to 3+ cups (600 to 700+ g)

Here’s what counts as “one cup” (plan to eat double!):

Broccoli 1 medium stalk 200 g
Spinach 2 cups raw 60 g
Salad Bar 1 average bowl 100 g
Spaghetti Sauce 1 cup 250 g

Excerpted from Food Guide for Soccer—Tips & Recipes From the Pros, with Women’s Professional Soccer, by Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, RD. Available on or

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tip of the week by Gloria Averbuch - Eat like a Brazilian


In the latest news, Women’s Professional Soccer kicks off the final week of voting for the WPS  All-Star Game presented by U. S. Coast Guard Reserve on June 4, so do your voting at now!

The upcoming kick-off the men’s World Cup—the largest sporting event in the world—is a prime occasion to celebrate the sport of soccer and the countries and cultures that play it. Brazil is a prime example. In addition, there are a number of Brazilian stars in Women’s Professional Soccer.

The advent of summer also brings out the barbecue. However, rather than the typical large hunks of meat often consumed in the U.S., we can all take a lesson from Brazilian-style rodízio (see below).


Women’s Professional Soccer celebrates its share of Brazilian players, among the top in the league and in the world for both men and women. This soccer culture, which plays what is called in Portuguese "Joga Bonito" (play beautiful, as in: skillfully) has a few typical dishes that lend themselves well to sports performance. Rodízio is a style of eating in both Brazilian and Portuguese restaurants, where food is brought to the tables, usually barbecued meats on a skewer such as sirloin steak or chicken, and distributed in small amounts until the customer has had enough (so it is not a massive piece of meat calling to you from the plate!). Barbequed pineapple or banana serves as a dessert. Rice and beans, a derivation of Caribbean influence, and a combination that forms a complete protein dish, are also typical Brazilian fare. In addition to bean-based recipes, try Sky Blue FC’s Rosana’s Fejioada, a Brazilian classic, and featured in Food Guide for Soccer.

Excerpted from Food Guide for Soccer—Tips & Recipes From the Pros, with Women’s Professional Soccer, by Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, RD. Available on or

Tip of the week by Gloria Averbuch - Solving the Four O'Clock Munchies

Last weekend, WPS had a bye—meaning no competition. However, professional athletes understand that doesn’t mean abandoning good nutritional habits, such as making sure to have plenty of healthy food on hand.

One of the most common failings of youth players (and youth in general) is to go from school to practice or games  or any activities “on empty.” They’ve had a noon lunch, but don’t have the snacks  on hand to fuel up for post-school play. That means not eating for at least 6-7 hours.

Two lunches is the solution.

Solving the Four O’clock Munchies

Many athletes believe eating in the afternoon is sinful. They self-inflict "Thou shalt not snack" as an Eleventh Commandment. Then, if they succumb, they feel guilty. Or more likely, younger players do not plan for after-school eating, and then train on empty. Hunger is neither bad nor wrong. It is a normal physiological function. You can expect to get hungry every four hours. If you have lunch at 11:00 or 12:00 P.M., your body needs fuel by 3:00 or 4:00 P.M.

If you think of your afternoon fuel as a “second lunch,” you’ll end up with wholesome food—a second sandwich, a mug of soup, or peanut butter on crackers and a (decaf) latte. In comparison, “afternoon snack” suggests candy, cookies and sweets—the goodies craved by soccer players who eat too little at breakfast and first lunch. The preferred solution to sweet cravings is to prevent the cravings by eating more food earlier in the day, and having a second lunch later in the afternoon. The second lunch maintains afternoon energy and helps prevent evening over-eating.

“When I was on the Boston Breakers, Nancy taught us to eat two lunches. It’s good to eat the same amount of food four times a day instead of a little bit in the morning and then a lot towards the end of the day.”

Amy Rodriguez, Forward, Philadelphia Independence

Excerpted from Food Guide for Soccer—Tips & Recipes From the Pros, with Women’s Professional Soccer, by Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, RD. Available on or