Student athletes lack nutritious food options

Student+study+at+the+new+Kegley+Center+for+Student+Success+on+Oct.+17.%0AKarina+Diaz%2FThe+Runner

Student study at the new Kegley Center for Student Success on Oct. 17. Karina Diaz/The Runner

By Joe Macias, Peter Castillo and Syleena Perez

The Runner Staff

Nutrition for CSU Bakersfield student athletes has been a problem that the athletic department is trying to solve with their recent deal with Bolthouse Farms.

Bolthouse Farms is based in Bakersfield, California and is providing gift-in-kind donations to the CSUB athletes. These donations consist of nutritional and healthy products throughout the athletes’ seasons.

Senior Athletic Trainer Michael Wilkins has seen problems with the nutrition on campus for student athletes and hopes the deal with Bolthouse will relieve those issues.

“We don’t give enough healthy options on campus, and for athletes if we are going to ask them to be healthy, we have to actually help provide something for them,” said Wilkins.

CSUB is getting ready for the grand opening of the Kegley Center for Student Success, which is scheduled to occur in November.

They had a soft opening for the center in September.

At the center student athletes receive services such as study hall and tutoring.

Athletic Director Kenneth Siegfried said that Bolthouse Farms provides items such as carrots and protein shakes.

Siegfried also said that CSUB provides oatmeal, apples, bananas and other things through a grant that the NCAA has given them.

“The goal is to keep as much stuff out there as possible…” said Siegfried. “What we need is almost an unlimited amount of healthy food.”

However, Wilkins said they are having a problem with scarcity and running out of food quickly.

“We restock (the Kegley Center) every day, but athletes go through it really quickly,” said Wilkins. “We don’t have a lot. We’re spending quite a bit of our budget money on the fruits, the oatmeal and things like that.”

“We don’t expect it to last. We’re just trying to make it last as long as we can, ” said Wilkins on the Bolthouse deal.

Men’s soccer player Jaime Carey-Morrel said at times it was hard to eat the right things because of his busy schedule.

“I had class after practice and unless I prepared something before, I wouldn’t have anything to eat until after seven,” said Carey-Morell. “So it was hard to have a good diet because you had to snack on not the best things.”

Senior women’s basketball player Brittany Sims shared in the sentiment. Sims is on a meal plan at CSUB and said that she would like to see those meals be healthier options.

“The foods in the café that are mainly on our meal plan, they are the greasier foods and the foods that are packages are the foods that we have to pay for so I would like for them to switch that around for the healthier options to be free on our meal plan than the greasier options,” said Sims.

The athletes have control over their diet, but CSUB tries to do its part in helping them make the right choices.

“They have control over their eating habits, but we try to educate them to make the right choices,” said Wilkins. “So far it has been great. We still have problems, obviously.

“We’re not able to provide three, four, five meals a day and I don’t think we’re going to be able to do that anytime soon.

Sims added that athletes fend for themselves when deciding on what to eat.

“We do it all ourselves, all ourselves,” said Sims.

Part of the problem that staff and athletes recognize is the hectic lifestyle that’s demanded from the athletes.

Sophomore women’s soccer player Aminah Settles shares her daily meals and how having a hectic schedule leads her to unhealthy choices on campus.

“I wake up at 6:30 and I usually have a protein shake before practice.” said Settles. “After I get home I’ll eat eggs or toast. When I’m stuck at school all day it’s usually something unhealthy.”

If Settles doesn’t stay on campus all day she will end her day with either chicken or pasta.

Wilkins said that some athletes do their workouts as early as five in the morning and after their workouts they go to class or study groups, which leaves them with little time to eat.

“Sometimes they don’t get a viable break to get something in them to eat, so it’s hard for us to push them athletically and expect them to make it through without getting injured or without getting fatigue and passing out,” said Wilkins.

Men’s basketball player Brent Wrapp had issues fitting nutritional food into his diet throughout the day before Bolthouse came in.

“The healthy options are good for us because we have busy schedules. Before the deal, it was pretty much just kind of fend for yourself,” said Wrapp.

The athletics department is looking for other organizations to help them supply student athletes with other healthy options.

Siegfried added on the different deals that CSUB is hoping to make in order to feed more of the student athletes.

“Bolthouse is the only one, but we have pretty significant interest from others and we’re just kind of waiting to confirm that,” said Siegfried.

Siegfried also said they have companies that are verbally committed, but are waiting to finalize those deals.

Some companies do not want their names to be distributed to the public in order to keep other schools from contacting them for donations as well added Siegfried.

CSUB is currently taking cash donations to help with the supplementing of healthy food for student athletes.