LSU Sports Nutrition

Next Level Podcast with Host Tavis Piattoly, MS, RD, LD

Jamie Meeks- Podcast

Jamie Meeks
Coordinator of LSU Sports Nutrition

Jamie Meeks, coordinator of LSU Sports Nutrition is a 2009 graduate from Louisiana State University with a B.S. in Nutritional Science (Dietetics).  As a former LSU Cheerleader, Jamie had the chance to cheer for some of LSU's greatest sport teams including the 2007 LSU Football National Championship team and the 2006 SEC Champions and Final Four Men's Basketball team.

After graduation, she moved to Little Rock, Arkansas to complete her Dietetic Internship at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. After receiving her Registered Dietitian (RD) license/registration, Jamie returned to LSU and completed her Master's Degree in 2011 in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Physiology.

Jamie is a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and is currently the Coordinator of LSU Sports Nutrition for athletics. She works to help integrate healthy choices and optimal fueling into the daily training routines for all 15 LSU’s sport teams. She provides individual counseling and Medical Nutrition Therapy that focuses on individual performance fueling strategies, hydration, and proper supplementation. Jamie offers team nutrition education sessions, home and travel meal management, body composition analysis, and eating disorder prevention and counseling. She also assists with the Athletic Training Table Meal, administering the food labeling system and working closely with the dining hall RD with menus and special dining hall events for the athletes.

In this podcast you will learn:

  1. Jamie's job responsibilities with the LSU Tiger Athletic Department?
  2. The challenges college athletes face regarding nutrition?
  3. Specific patterns she looks for during a nutrition assessment that may warrant immediate action/intervention?
  4. Her approach with her bigger athletes who love to eat but need to maintain a healthy playing weight. How does she help them make better choices without taking foods they love out of their diet?
  5. How she educates a large student athlete base and what strategies she has put in place?
  6. Her unique packages of homemade nuts for the athletes to snack on and one that even has one specifically named after Coach Miles grass eating incident?
  7. The benefits of snacking for college athletes?
  8. A crazy superstition by former LSU pitcher and Orioles 1st round draft pick Kevin Gausman?
  9. Supplement use at the Collegiate level and what type of education protocols does she have in place to discuss supplement safety to prevent athletes from testing positive for a banned substance?
  10. Half-time nutrition and what strategies she has in place to help athletes refuel to have energy in the 2nd half?

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Podcast Transcript

0:00 Tavis Piattoly Introduction

  • Today, we are looking at the role of college sports dietitian. Our guest will be Jamie Meeks. We will explore what she does to help college athletes.

2:32 Jamie's job responsibilities with the LSU Tiger Athletic Department

  • Wide variety of responsibilities. Most important is education. Educating both teams and individuals. Education topics include food groups, meal timing, and portion sizes. More responsibilities include food demos, meal planning, and managing the fuel bars.
  • Meal planning for home and away games.
    • She meets with coaches, team, and caterers.
  • Fuel bars for pre and post workout snacks (nutrition bars and trail mix) and hydration station.
  • She works closely with the dining hall for the training table meal.
  • She is on the sidelines for practices and games fueling the athletes.
  • Familiar face at practice reminds athletes about staying fueled and hydrated 

6:46 The challenges college athletes face regarding nutrition

  • Biggest challenge is time due to being an athlete on top of being a student.
  • Another challenge is budget. Therefore, as a sports RD you may want to give tips to grocery shop.
  • It is important to reinforce the important nutrition facts.
  • A third challenge is a lack of knowledge. This is where her responsibility of education comes in. 
  • On a different note, Jamie mentions how she conducts grocery store tours. She goes through each aisle teaching them what is best to buy, how to read food labels, and how to prepare foods.
  • Some athletes eat what they think is cheap and eat what they know. As an RD she likes to gives ways to branch out to teach them there’s other ways to choose and prepare their food.

9:56 Specific patterns she looks for during a nutrition assessment that may warrant immediate action/intervention

  • Biggest one is skipping meals, specifically breakfast. Some athletes would rather sleep in. As an RD, educating athletes on how to eat consistently throughout the day and not skipping meals will help their performance at practice and during games.
  • Another pattern is omitting complete food groups. Educate athletes on how those food groups are important.

11:58 Her approach with her bigger athletes who love to eat but need to maintain a healthy playing weight. How does she help them make better choices without taking foods they love out of their diet

  • Educate them on how balance is key. It is okay to have their favorite foods every once in a while.
  • Teaching them their  80:20 rule. 80% of the time athlete should be eating nutritious foods. 20% of the time it is okay to have a not-so healthy snack.

14:16 How she educates a large student athlete base and what strategies she has put in place

  • Educating each team at least once in the Fall.
  • She color coded the dining hall.
    • Green = low calorie, low fat. Best for recovery and overall health.
    • Yellow = middle
    • Red - high fat, high calorie. Should be consumed in smaller portions.
  • Social media

16:43 Her unique packages of homemade nuts for the athletes to snack on and one that even has one specifically named after Coach Miles grass eating incident.

  • NCAA rule that fruit, nuts, and bagels can be served at any time. 
    • This gave her the idea to make trail mixes.
  • She named the trail mixes fun names after head coaches with national titles.
    • She bags 200 pounds of trail mix per week.
  • Trail mix is a good way to show athletes that snacking is important for athletes.

18:54 The benefits of snacking for college athletes

  • Helps continually fuel their bodies throughout the day
  • Keep blood sugar steady.
  • Helps athletes focus during class.
  • This prevents overeating/overindulging at a later meal. Overall, helping with weight management.

20:15 A crazy superstition by former LSU pitcher and Orioles 1st round draft pick Kevin Gausman

  • She was not going to take away his donut.
  • She tells her athletes when it comes to superstitions that as long as it is not dangerous then it is okay. However, just make sure to eat balanced meals throughout the day and the days after.

21:36 Supplement use at the Collegiate level and what type of education protocols does she have in place to discuss supplement safety to prevent athletes from testing positive for a banned substance

  • The supplements used by majority of her athletes includes a recovery shake. Another supplement some might use includes multivitamin.
  • She educated athletes on the lack of supplement regulation. She also teaches them the benefits and risks of supplements.
  • She believe education is key with supplements
  • Her motto: food first and supplements second.
  • When an athlete asks her about a certain supplement, she will first like to address what their overall diet looks like first.

23:57 Half-time nutrition and what strategies she has in place to help athletes refuel to have energy in the 2nd half

  • Half a table filled with fresh fruits, nutrition bars, and rice krispies.
    • High carbohydrate, low fat, low fiber. These will be able to be digested quickly and easy on their stomachs.
  • Also, there will be a lot of fluids to keep the athletes hydrated.

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