U.S. Ski & Snowboard Chef Shares Performance Secrets

Published online: Jan 28, 2019 Articles
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More than ever before, athletes have come to understand the role of food and nutrition in achieving peak performance. Across broadcast and social channels, competitive athletes can be seen touting various "winning" diets and products. But, when asking a nutrition professional such as high-performance dietitian and chef for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard teams, Allen Tran, MS, RD, CSSD, what the secret to success is, the answer appears to be quite simple.

"My athletes have a lot on their mind, so I like to keep food 'rules' easy to remember and achieve," says Tran. "When developing a meal plan, it's critical to 1) choose high-quality ingredients and 2) create dishes that are tasty but also fit the athlete's lifestyle."

Athletes' meals for pre, during and post-training are built around the appropriate balance of carbohydrate, fat and protein. Tran urges his athletes to keep real, versatile ingredients on hand to call on at any time of day. "Without question, potatoes are my favorite—and my athletes' favorite—base for meal prep." That's because potatoes contain the carbohydrate, potassium and energy they need to perform at their best. In fact, a 5.2-ounce potato with the skin has 26 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of protein, and 620 milligrams of potassium.

"Meal prep," as Tran references, allows athletes to prepare batch amounts of meal components on a specific day (or days) of the week, to allow for easy meal enjoyment all week-long. Moreover, it allows them to carefully construct nutritious meals that enhance their training regimens. "Meal prepping for performance doesn't have to be monotonous, it should be fun!" he says.

In partnership with Potatoes USA, Tran shows athletes how to do just that. His newly released five-part video series, "Meal Prep with Potatoes," covers everything from the perfect big batch of roasted potatoes and microwave hacks to portable pre-training snacks and protein-packed dishes for post-exercise.

For more information on how potatoes can fuel your training regimen and recipes optimized for athletic performance, visit PotatoesFuelPerformance.com.