Kevin Neeld — Hockey Training, Sports Performance, & Sports Science

Hockey Nutrition Tips: Part 1

Whenever I have a question about nutrition or supplements, I always call the same person. My friend Brian St. Pierre is the Nutrition Consultant and a Strength and Conditioning Coach at Cressey Performance in Hudson, MA. He’s truly one of the brightest young minds in sports nutrition today and really “gets it” in terms of being familiar with the research AND knowing how to implement strategies to help his athletes succeed.

A while back, Brian sent me some AWESOME nutrition tips that I wanted to share with you. The first three tips are below. Check back throughout the rest of the week for more great hockey nutrition information.

Nutrition Tip #1

Eat Real Food!
It may seem trivial or vague, but if you sat back and really took stock of the food in your home, you would probably be shocked to realize just how much of it qualifies as a food product, not actual food. Increasing the amount of real food, defined below, and decreasing the amount of food products you consume is the easiest thing you can do to improve your nutrition and health. It doesn’t require counting calories, worrying about nutrient timing, calculating macronutrient percentages, or any of that, and it will have a far greater impact on your health.

Real Food Conditions:
•    If you couldn’t hunt, fish, pluck, grow, or ferment/culture the food, you probably shouldn’t eat it.
•    If it wasn’t food 100 years ago, it probably isn’t food today.
•    If it comes in a box or a plastic wrapper, it probably isn’t food, it is a food product.
•    If it contains lots of industrial vegetable oil (canola, cottonseed, soybean, safflower, sunflower, etc) and/or added sugar/high fructose corn syrup, it probably isn’t food, it is a food product.

Nutrition Tip #2

Eat Food as Close to its Natural State as Possible.
Eating food that has been produced in a sustainable, animal, plant and environmentally friendly manner will not only have a profound impact on your health, but the health of your food and the health of the planet. Choosing food from local, seasonal and sustainably grown sources, like farmer’s markets, ensures that you know exactly where your food is coming from, who is producing that food, and exactly how it is produced.

Natural State Conditions:
•    Eat meat, eggs and dairy from pastured/grass-fed animals.
•    Eat full fat versions of these foods for the greatest profile and absorption of nutrients.
•    Eat produce from local, seasonal, and sustainably grown sources.

Nutrition Tip #3

Eat Vegetable and/or Fruits at Every Meal or Snack
This is the easiest way to meet your minimum of 5 servings of fruits and veggies per day. I would go so far as to say the minimum should be 7-10 servings. Maximize your health to maximize your performance. You will drastically increase the amounts of powerful phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber to optimize your nutrition.

Key Tips:
•    You don’t need a side salad with every meal. 1 serving will do just fine.
•    9 baby carrots, 2 celery sticks, and small pieces of fruit are all equivalent to one serving.

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Kevin Neeld

Kevin Neeld Knows Hockey

Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach with the San Jose Sharks. Prior to San Jose, Kevin spent the last 7 years as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ, the last 3 of which he was also the Strength and Conditioning Coach and Manual Therapist for the Philadelphia Flyers Junior Team. Kevin also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey .