What’s On Potter’s Plate?


Adam Fondren

University of Utah Womens Basketball practice at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, UT on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 (Photo by Adam Fondren | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Emily Potter

I think one of the biggest perks of being a student-athlete on the women’s basketball team is that I can usually eat whatever I want without any consequences. Whether it be cheeseburgers, ice cream, wings and more, I love it all. Food is not only necessary for survival, it tastes so dang good, too.

With the amount of working out and running the team does, I typically never have to worry about what I eat. As my college years pass by, I have tried to eat healthy. I once tried the paleo diet with one of my teammates, but along the way, I binged on late-night snacks. This past year, I have realized that my philosophy of eating whatever I want just because I work out so often is flawed.

For me, eating healthy has nothing to do with how I look, but rather, how I feel. As a student-athlete, it is my job to be at my best physically. I go to school every day, then I head to practice. It is up to me to show up ready to go. I lift weights and condition, go to practice and do treatment before and after. Fueling my body is equally important.

For me, hydration is key to being healthier. Water is magic; I feel so much better when I am hydrated. I feel more focused and alert, and it even wards off headaches and hunger. If you think you are hungry, grab water before a snack.

We have team hydration tests frequently on game days to make sure we are not dehydrated or over-hydrated. Being either will not put us in a position to play our best.

Carrying around a water bottle 24/7 has been the easiest way for me to keep hydrated. It’s harder to make excuses for not drinking water when my bottle is always on hand. I take my Hydro Flask with me everywhere. I even keep it by my bed so I can drink water as soon as I wake up.

When it comes to food, I admittedly have my struggles. I don’t think I will ever perfect my diet, but I am okay with that. Right now, I eat everything in moderation and focus on adding fruits and vegetables. I feel accomplished at the end of the day if I made a conscious effort by eating fruits and vegetables with every meal. With a high training load, I also eat a lot of carbs and protein. Chicken is usually my go-to, but red meat has iron, which is an essential nutrient.

I don’t forbid myself from eating any one thing because then I would only crave it. I am not afraid to treat myself to my favorite food in the world — cheeseburgers — and I pay attention to the timing of when I’m eating a “cheat meal.” Being in the middle of basketball season makes it especially tough to find days to eat treats, but I try to avoid the days leading up to games.

I’m also extremely lucky that our team has access to sports nutritionists. They help us with any questions we have and plan our pregame meals and meals on the road.

When I think of my body as a machine, it’s easy to realize I need to fuel it with the right substance. My job is to be my best when I step on the court, but I know that a cheeseburger every once in a while isn’t detrimental to my physical health. In fact, I think it’s beneficial to my mental health.

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