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Broken Arrow nutrition program helps student performance

Posted at 10:48 AM, Dec 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 06:39:02-05

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — Broken Arrow High School students have several options when it comes to lunch. Juniors and seniors in good standing can eat off-campus while everyone else eats in the cafeteria. For students like senior football player Alex Arroyo, those choices can sometimes lead to unhealthy lunches.

“Last year I used to eat, like, two cheeseburgers, a fried chicken with extra fries and I was lethargic at practice, slow, I gained weight, not the good type of weight," Arroyo said.

A new option this semester is the “Tiger Nutrition Training Table." It provides nutritious meals to help student-athletes be healthier and perform better.

“When I started eating here, I leaned up a lot," Arroyo said. "I started gaining weight, but the right type of weight. And I just feel a lot better athlete than I was without it.”

Monday's lunch is teriyaki chicken with brown rice and vegetables, creating a mixture of lean protein and whole-grains to keep students energized throughout the day, which is one of the main goals of the program.

The school’s dietitian and strength and conditioning coach work together to create a menu that fits in the federal school lunch regulations.

“The most protein they are allowed to get," said Cody Ellett, director of strength and conditioning for Broken Arrow Public Schools. "The most calories they are allowed to get. Fruit and vegetable options every day. More complex carbohydrates. And with that you get rid a lot of stuff you don’t want them getting. Not a bunch of added sugar. Not a lot of fat and processed junk.”

200 to 300 students line up each day for the meals ranging from sushi to chicken teriyaki to taco bowls.

“Every day is a little different, trying to figure out what they like," said Emily Peterson, senior child nutrition coordinator and dietitian for BAPS. "The biggest challenge is finding something that they want to come, but also give them a bunch of options and varieties.”

Even though football season is over, Arroyo said he still plans on eating the healthier option.

“If you’re an athlete and you’re trying to take it serious and you’re trying to, like, build your body, you want what’s best for your body," Arroyo said. "And this is the place that gives you the food that’s probably best for you.”

The Tiger Nutrition Training Table is open to all students at the high school. It’s the same price as other meals the school offers.

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