We asked registered dietitian and mom Nici Mense, MS, RD, and member of our Sports Nutrition Advisory Panel to tell us how she fuels the New York Jets for their best performance on gameday — and every day.
“My favorite part of working in the National Football League (NFL), or in my field in general, is helping these guys become the best versions of themselves on and off the field,” says Mense. “You’re working with such a wide variety of players, even personality wise, but we are all working towards one goal.”
Mense says that dairy plays an important role in the players’ diets, especially during the season. “Whether it’s grabbing a yogurt parfait to snack on during the day, consuming it in a recovery shake post-workout or adding cheese on their favorite pasta dish, they are consuming dairy regularly!”
Everyone’s favorite snack though? “You can’t go wrong with a good ‘ole PB and J!” says Mense
For meals, “a nice pasta bar is always a hit with our guys, especially before games,” says Mense. “They love both fettuccini alfredo and marinara sauce.”
Nici Mense was the first full-time team dietitian for the New York Jets when she started with the organization in 2017. She says one surprising thing for her when she started was the sheer amount of food the team eats, especially during training camp when they have a larger roster.
“These guys can really eat,” says Mense.
Mense has some words of wisdom for adult and student athletes too. “There are three things to focus on that will make a huge difference in performance: hydration, fueling properly, and sleep/recovery!”
- Hydration: Aim to consumer at least half your body weight in ounces daily. If you sweat heavily, you’ll need more.
- Fueling Properly: Make sure you get enough calories throughout the day to not only fuel you for your workout, but also to help your body recover for the next training session.
- Sleep/Recovery: You should aim to get 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is the best form of recovery for your body!