John Tolley, March 6, 2017

Everyone knows that athletes need to watch what they eat.

In order to push themselves to the next level, they have to maintain the proper balance of nutrients. From healthy fats to carbohydrates to electrolytes, it can be a daunting task just to keep track of it all.

Now, what if that athlete is also a university student, a group not renowned for their stellar dietary habits?

At the University of Iowa, Athletics Department director of sports nutrition Nicole White has to make sure that Hawkeye student-athletes are not just ready for the next game, but also for the midterm around the corner.

Unhealthy eating among student-athletes occurs for a variety of reasons. Busy schedules and a lack access to kitchen facilities and grocery options on campus make cooking for oneself difficult. And the relative ease of fast food only serves to compound the problem.

White and her team of nutritionists counter this by providing student-athletes with a variety of programs meant to make mealtime less of a hassle. Through cooking demonstrations they highlight healthy ingredients that help athletes bounce back, like watermelon smoothies that can restore nutrients lost during strenuous training.

?It?s a great alternative to sports drinks,? says White, speaking to the Iowa City Gazette. ?It has electrolytes, potassium - everything you need after a workout.?

Also provided for student-athletes are seven campus ?fueling stations,? caches of well-balanced snacks like granola, fruit, yogurt and salads that help Hawkeyes stave off hunger without resorting to empty calories.

To reinforce her lessons and tips on healthy eating, White and the sports nutrition staff runs the @HawkeyeFuel Twitter and Instagram accounts, reaching across campus to more than just the athletes in their charge.