Raisin Your Nutrition

– A blog about the energy benefits of raisins –

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More Reasons to Raisin

February 10, 2014 by

Since my dad was a high school coach, getting involved in athletics was only natural. My mother fondly recalls the numerous times during my school age years that I dutifully made cupcakes for Dad’s wrestling team. Even though they typically chose the orange wedges over my treats, little did I know then what a temptation this must have been for these weight-conscious athletes! I was privileged to enjoy a childhood and adolescence filled with sports, whether cheering from the sidelines or striving to score the winning goal. Through sports, I learned valuable life lessons about loyalty, teamwork, striving for excellence, discipline, and sacrifice that shaped me over the years.

As a kid, I relied on whole food snacks that mom tucked into my lunch box for a quick burst of energy for afternoon practice. She says that the little red box of sunshine was one of my favorites. I was always on the go and raisins were an easy snack. A quick handful and I was back in the game!
Now as a health professional specializing in sports nutrition, my personal athletic endeavors have given me valuable insight and understanding into the psychology and physiology of exercise. These perceptions combined with clinical judgment have facilitated my ability to effectively evaluate and educate athletes from a variety of sports.

In my current position, I provide nutritional services for college athletes as a member of a multidisciplinary sports medical team. I have a great supporting cast that includes team physicians, athletic trainers, strength coaches and administrators. Here are some of my responsibilities as a collegiate sports nutritionist:

  • Evaluate and analyze nutrition practices and patterns (the what, when, why and where of eating).
  • Measure weight, body fat and muscle mass to help determine performance goals.
  • Match nutrition to training phase and goals by developing a personalized meal and snack plan (I call it a nutrition game plan).
  • Provide fueling strategies for pre-, during, and post-exercise for individual training, team practice and competition at home and on the road.
  • Provide medical nutrition therapy in conjunction with the sports medicine team for conditions like food allergies, nutrient deficiencies and gastrointestinal issues.
  • Provide guidelines for optimal nutrition for recovery from illness or injury.
  • Educate about dietary supplements.
  • Give grocery store tours and cooking classes.

My mantra for athletes has always been “food first” when it comes to providing the body with key nutrients and energy that it needs for health and physical activity. I’m known to say “eat simply,” “eat closer to earth by choosing foods prepared by Mother Nature” and “celebrate the colors of the rainbow on your plate.” Raisins are a great fit within this philosophy. You don’t have to be an athlete to appreciate that raisins are a convenient, high energy and low fat snack. They’re portable, easy to eat and almost never go bad. Raisins are always available so they’re a fruit that you can depend on year around!

On this blog, I’m excited to offer sports nutrition tips and raisin recipes to help you outwork the competition! Topics of discussion will include:

  • The difference between feeding vs. fueling
  • How to eat/drink before a run
  • How to eat/drink during a run
  • How to eat/drink after a run to recover
  • How to prepare for race day
  • Sample meal plans for runners
  • The runner’s grocery cart: ten must have foods

I’ll also give you the scoop on raisins and why they’re a great fit for a runner’s nutrition routine. Here are some of the topics you’ll see here:

  • History of raisins
  • Nutrition that they provide
  • How raisins are made
  • Health benefits
  • Delicious and nutritious recipes

I’m looking forward to working with you to “Raisin Your Nutrition!”

  1. Jenny says:

    I added some raisins to my PB toast this morning and for some reason decided to google Sun Maid. I’m both surprised and very excited to see an RDN on the Sun Maid team! This is so cool! Go Suzanne!!!

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About The Author
SUZANNE NELSON, ScD, RDN
Suzanne Nelson

Dr. Nelson recently joined the staff of Bryn Athyn College in Pennsylvania as a nutrition and wellness advisor and sports nutritionist. Previously, she was the Director of Sports Performance Nutrition in the athletic department at the University of California, Berkeley. While in California, she was the team nutritionist for the San Francisco 49ers and provided nutrition consultation to the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors. In addition, Dr. Nelson has advised elite amateur athletes at the national, world, and Olympic level. She is a nationally known speaker in sports nutrition and is the author/editor of several books and numerous scientific journal articles. Dr. Nelson is the Nutrition and Health Advisor for Sun-Maid.

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