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Eat like a Detroit Red Wing

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings dietitian Lisa McDowell has a passion for fresh, functional food and enjoys sharing her knowledge with athletes to improve performance. McDowell applies the science behind sports nutrition and translates rigorous scientific research to food and meal planning for the Red Wings. Read more in this month's Priority Health Wellness Blog below. TO VISIT THE PRIORITY HEALTH MONTHLY DIGITAL MAGAZINE, CLICK HERE.

Feeding the Detroit Red Wings can be quite challenging because our players come from all over the world and have cultural food preferences, as well as years of experience eating a certain way. Superstitions and good luck meals are commonplace. I am frequently asked to describe what type of food the players eat in a typical day so I thought it would be fun to share what our professional hockey players eat. Of course, we have special menus, secret recipes, power ingredients and other favorites we can't share, but these three-day menus can help everyone understand what a well-balanced day looks like to feel your best.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

Never Skip!
1 cup of Steel Cut Oatmeal with 1 ounce of your choice of walnuts or almonds and 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds, a dash of cinnamon, and ½ cup of blueberries

1 Greek yogurt w at least 20 g Pro

1 banana with almond butter

1 cup of green tea or coffee
3 eggs w red peppers, spinach, onions, feta, kale, avocado, tomato, mushrooms and herbs

1-2 slices of nutrient dense bread or English muffin

1-2 c Mixed fruit salad

1 cup of Pu her tea
Greek yogurt with your favorite high fiber cereal or granola, ground flax seed, chia seeds, and your choice of berries (1 cup)

1 banana with almond butter

2 hard-boiled eggs

1 cup of green tea
Snack 1 ounce of dark chocolate

1 ounce almonds or mixed nuts

1 ounce tart cherries
Baked pita chips with salsa and guacamole 1 ounce walnuts

1 ounce dried tart cherries

1 ounce of dark chocolate

Remember to drink enough water each day. Purchase a BPA-free water bottle to monitor your water intake. Tea and coffee are also great!
Garden salad with dark greens and at least 5 different colored vegetables (try yellow peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, red cabbage, and carrots). Add garbanzo beans, eggs, chicken, salmon or black beans for extra protein! Make sure protein is at least 30 g.

1 cup of Teff (high iron) or couscous 1 orange and 1 L lemon water
Quinoa with 6 oz chicken breast, black beans, tomatoes, onions, roasted garlic, and herbs, with olive oil

1 pink/yellow grapefruit

Grilled vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions, peppers

1 L lemon water
Turkey sandwich with spinach, tomato, avocado onion, peppers, cashew butter and mustard on sprouted grain bread

Barley lentil soup

Roasted carrots and squash

1 banana w almond butter

1 cup watermelon & grapes

1 L lemon water
Snack Your favorite fruit with cheese or veggies with guacamole or hummus 1 oz of dark chocolate

1 oz pistachios

1 oz tart dried cherries
Caprese salad

1 cup purple grapes

Try to eat out at restaurants less often and cook more whole foods at home. Most restaurants add excessive salt and butter to flavor their food!
Chicken stir-fry with brown rice, broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower and carrots cooked in coconut oil and seasoned with fresh or dried herbs and garlic (you can substitute your favorite protein such as lean beef, shrimp, and scallops for the chicken

Smoothie with greens, almond milk, and frozen berries

Greek yogurt with pomegranate seeds and roasted walnuts
Sashimi or sushi


Seaweed salad or spinach salad with eggs, feta cheese, sunflower seeds, onions, and dressing

Miso soup

1 cup purple grapes, cherries or melon

1 dark beer or glass of red wine

Water with lemon
Grilled planked salmon with brown rice or quinoa

20 spears of asparagus
Blackberries and almonds

Side salad – remember to eat the rainbow by adding different colored veggie toppings

Avocado and Greek yogurt side sauce

Fresh herbs on the salmon

Roasted sweet potatoes

1 glass of red wine
Snack Boar’s head turkey breast and slice of cheese Cottage cheese and fruit Peanut butter on rice cakes or bananas or toast

Secret of Success:

Hockey Players view their meals as an opportunity to fuel each day with energy-boosting, nutritious and flavorful meals. Take a peek at our three-day sample menus.

• Watch your intake of processed foods. Read labels and limit what you purchase in a box!

• Use generous amounts of fresh or dried herbs and spices for flavor.

• Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables and fill half of your plate with them at every meal.

• Eat a variety of whole grains- replace refined grains with whole grains. If your iron is on the lower side, try to add a daily serving of teff.

• Eat dairy products fortified with vitamin D. Avoid dairy with added hormones such as

• Only buy Wild Alaskan salmon – never farm raised.

• Choose grass-fed lean beef and poultry without added hormones and antibiotics. Purchase organic.

• Incorporate superfoods like Greek yogurt, sweet potatoes, dark chocolate (70%), tea, cherries, berries, spinach, beans, oatmeal, spices, herbs, deep pigmented fruits and veggies, flax seeds, chia seeds, quinoa, edamame, teff, eggs, Alaskan salmon, sardines, garlic, onions, nuts, etc.

• Eat the rainbow – at least 10 different fruits and veggies including something red, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, white, brown, and black.

• If taking vitamin D3, make sure to take with food to increase absorption. Fat-soluble vitamins need a source of good fat for absorption (olive oil, nuts, avocado, etc).

• Eat something with vitamin C when eating meat to increase iron absorption.

• When eating out, order two extra sides of veggies (preferably sautéed spinach, kale, arugula, etc as one choice)

• Eat within 45-60 of hard exercise. Need a mix of pro and carbs. Enjoy a recovery smoothie or snack within 10 minutes of getting off the ice.

• If using supplements, use only NSF certified.

• Follow 80/20 rule. 80% good calories 20% less functional – for example, glass of wine, bowl of ice cream, snack chips.

• Follow 90/10 in playoffs. 90% great fuel, 10% treats.

•10 hours of sleep is needed for professional athletes. The harder you work your body the more recovery time needed to repair damage.

• 1 oz tart cherry juice per day – I love King Orchards from Traverse City!

• Aim for at least one avocado, 2 oz nuts, liberal use of olive oil every day to help with metabolic efficiency, and support of hormones needed to maintain muscle mass.

• Limit caffeine at night.

• Enjoy your meals, laugh, celebrate and taste your food mindfully.

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