Couscous? Victorino? Ya gotta believe

    Major League Baseball season opens today.The Phillies are away against the Washington Nationals. The home opener is next Monday.

     Whether home or away, the defending National League champs will be eating healthier. The team has hired a nutritionist to make sure.

    Frank Coppenbarger runs the Phillies clubhouse, and in his time he’s seen some serious chowing down. He’s seen plenty of pin-striped heroes eat a bucket of fried chicken before a game, a hoagie or a pizza afterwards.

    Here’s what Katie Cavuto Boyle has to say about that: Wrong, wrong, wrong. The Phillies’ new nutritionist recommends that players not only cut out the fried foods, but eat foods that are optimal for their positions.

    For example, a relief pitcher who spends the first seven innings lounging about should eat differently from a starting shortstop who hustles all night. Boyle says athletes should eat a combination of complex and simple carbohydrates.

    Boyle: “A peanut and jelly sandwich – the bread has lasting carbs, and the jelly is the simple carbs for instant energy, and the protein in the peanut butter gives balance to the meal. It can give great energy.”

    Boyle  says the menu in the team’s clubhouse will stress whole grains and complex carbohydrates, like couscous and quinoa.

    Boyle, who has done personal cooking for several Phillies,  says baseball players have dietary needs that differ from other athletes.

    Boyle: When it comes to baseball, it’s not an endurance sport.  Their primary source of energy is glucose – carbohydrates. A lot of athletes think they need a lot of protein to build muscle. But for baseball, carbs are going to give them the mental acuity they need and their reaction time.

    Coppenbarger says the biggest challenge may be getting players to maintain the healthy eating habits Boyle promotes while they are on the road.

    Coppenbarger says the biggest challenge may be getting players to maintain the healthy eating habits Boyle promotes while they are on the road.

    Boyle says she one of the key elements to maintaining a healthy diet is being allowed to eat some of your favorite foods. She says she’ll allow the players an occasional candy bar or pizza slice.

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