Baseball Nutrition: How to Hit a Homerun!

Jenna is a Registered/Licensed Dietitian and Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. She has worked with many athletes from grade-school age to professional. Before leaving California, she was the Team Sports Dietitian for UCLA Athletics; sports nutritionist for Athletes’ Performance. Jenna received her undergraduate degree in Foods & Nutrition from Cal Poly Pomona and Master’s of Science in Human Movement at A.T. Still University, with an emphasis in sports conditioning. Growing up around baseball with a father and uncles who played and practically learning to keep score before she could read—you can say baseball is in Jenna’s blood. Watching a great game or playing over-the-line on a warm summer day are some of her favorite past-times.

In this podcast you will learn:

  1. When Jenna first discovered a love for baseball?
  2. The nutritional challenges she sees for baseball players, especially pro athletes who have a long season?
  3. If there is any nutritional value to the Sunflower Seed, a popular item, seen in dugouts across the US?
  4. Nutrition principles a baseball player should consider to help elevate his performance?
  5. Nutrition strategies baseball players can implement to reach their weight or strength goals?
  6. The common mistakes young athletes make when trying to decide what to eat between games
  7. How players can better prepare to fuel their body during a tournament?
  8. How steroids are a bad influence on young athletes and how does she educate young athletes on using food as their most effective tool to packing on muscle?
  9. Her new great eBook on Performance Nutrition for Baseball Players: Gain the Advantage.
  10. The topics that she discusses in the Ebook?
  11. Where you can purchase Jenna’s eBook?

Links and Resources Discussed in This Episode

Other Related Resources

Download the Free “Eat 2 Win Challenge” App

31 replies
  1. Laura Maydak
    Laura Maydak says:

    This is a great podcast! I love seeing dietitians with a true love for the sports with which they work. Baseball has clearly been a huge part of Jenna’s life from a very young age, and her passion has continued to grow. She provides great insight on the importance of being prepared, eating enough food, eating the right foods, and eating at the right times. Her point about nutrition and training being a tag-team effort couldn’t be more true – which is why baseball players really do need to eat with a purpose. She also brings up great points about fueling during tournaments. It’s so important to plan ahead for those times, because (like she mentioned with her brother) concession stand food isn’t the best choice to fuel for performance. Great podcast – can’t wait for the EBook!

    • Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS
      Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS says:

      I would like to second the fueling during tournaments. I hear about these brutally long weekends (especially in the Texas heat) where very young kids are just struggling by sunday due to poor planning of nutrition. I challenge y’all to go to a tournament and listen to the parents – they all say “oh nutrition is sooooooo great”, and then you see them hand Billy or Mikey a bag of Doritos and a gallon of gatorade post game.

      • Hanna
        Hanna says:

        I agree, Nick. It really is kind of amazing to see how people fuel for their sport. The sad thing is that they think they are doing things correctly. What a difference proper sports nutrition could make in not only their performance outcomes, but their day-to-day functioning. Were you an athlete? How did you fuel for all-day sports tournaments?

        • Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS
          Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS says:

          I played soccer through one year of college. The sad part is my nutrition habits were garbage. If I truly sat and reflected it had an impact on my ability to stay competitive. Ultimately, it changed my course of education as I switched to become a sports science major (instead of a design engineer) and later going back to become an RD. I said I would do whatever it took to help kids prepare for the switch from high school to college.

          • Hanna
            Hanna says:

            I had a similar situation. I graduated with psychology and sociology degrees, but upon graduation, I knew that I wanted to know more about sports nutrition, not only for my own personal gain but to help others correct the mistakes they were making in their own diet. Your life path is very admirable!

          • Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS
            Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS says:

            Thanks Hanna! Dylan, went to my nephews baseball game this weekend and cookies were handed out post game – had to chuckle after reading your story

          • Hanna
            Hanna says:

            Unless these cookies were these:
            I think whoever provides snacks for your nephews needs a lesson on proper sports nutrition. Cough cough, Nick!

          • Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS
            Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS says:

            haha, yes…it was only t-ball and he was one of two that bypassed the cookies and ran over to my sister who had other things for him.

          • Dylan A. Bailey
            Dylan A. Bailey says:

            I had a very similar experience with collegiate athletics (my sport of choice was baseball), and vividly remember our coach providing us with several pizza pies and cookies in between double headders. A belief that these practices were not appropriate, prompted me to seek out information as to what I should be doing to boost performance. It was mainly an internal reason for questioning these practices. Coaches never talked to us once about proper dietary practices for sport. Unfortunately, players who wanted to deviate from these provided food options were subject to either the “to go” processed items available in the dining hall or the use of their own monetary funds to purchase healthier alternatives.

          • Hanna
            Hanna says:

            As a former division I athlete, I can relate to having to eat on the road quite a bit as well. But because our athletic budget is fairly big, I never had to “try” and eat healthy from the vending machine or other convenience types of options. While it is not impossible, I do see the struggle here. And Dylan, you are exactly right, Coaches do not have the proper knowledge to counsel their athletes on how to eat for sport. Every athletic team in the nation should have a sports nutritionist. Or at the very least, the full set of Ebooks we are publishing 🙂

    • Hanna
      Hanna says:

      I agree, Laura! Like Nick mentioned below, I too, enjoyed the commentary on fueling during tournaments. This information is applicable to all sports, however. Think of long track meets that span the entire day, football games that run upwards of four hours, grueling tennis matches, etc, etc. We have a lot to teach in terms of giving athletes and their families proper information on how to fuel for sport. I can’t wait for the Ebook as well!

  2. Laura Maydak
    Laura Maydak says:

    This is a great podcast! I love seeing dietitians with a true love for the sports with which they work. Baseball has clearly been a huge part of Jenna’s life from a very young age, and her passion has continued to grow. She provides great insight on the importance of being prepared, eating enough food, eating the right foods, and eating at the right times. Her point about nutrition and training being a tag-team effort couldn’t be more true – which is why baseball players really do need to eat with a purpose. She also brings up great points about fueling during tournaments. It’s so important to plan ahead for those times, because (like she mentioned with her brother) concession stand food isn’t the best choice to fuel for performance. Great podcast – can’t wait for the EBook!

    • Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS
      Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS says:

      I would like to second the fueling during tournaments. I hear about these brutally long weekends (especially in the Texas heat) where very young kids are just struggling by sunday due to poor planning of nutrition. I challenge y’all to go to a tournament and listen to the parents – they all say “oh nutrition is sooooooo great”, and then you see them hand Billy or Mikey a bag of Doritos and a gallon of gatorade post game.

      • Hanna
        Hanna says:

        I agree, Nick. It really is kind of amazing to see how people fuel for their sport. The sad thing is that they think they are doing things correctly. What a difference proper sports nutrition could make in not only their performance outcomes, but their day-to-day functioning. Were you an athlete? How did you fuel for all-day sports tournaments?

        • Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS
          Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS says:

          I played soccer through one year of college. The sad part is my nutrition habits were garbage. If I truly sat and reflected it had an impact on my ability to stay competitive. Ultimately, it changed my course of education as I switched to become a sports science major (instead of a design engineer) and later going back to become an RD. I said I would do whatever it took to help kids prepare for the switch from high school to college.

          • Hanna
            Hanna says:

            I had a similar situation. I graduated with psychology and sociology degrees, but upon graduation, I knew that I wanted to know more about sports nutrition, not only for my own personal gain but to help others correct the mistakes they were making in their own diet. Your life path is very admirable!

          • Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS
            Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS says:

            Thanks Hanna! Dylan, went to my nephews baseball game this weekend and cookies were handed out post game – had to chuckle after reading your story

          • Hanna
            Hanna says:

            Unless these cookies were these:
            I think whoever provides snacks for your nephews needs a lesson on proper sports nutrition. Cough cough, Nick!

          • Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS
            Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS says:

            haha, yes…it was only t-ball and he was one of two that bypassed the cookies and ran over to my sister who had other things for him.

          • Dylan A. Bailey
            Dylan A. Bailey says:

            I had a very similar experience with collegiate athletics (my sport of choice was baseball), and vividly remember our coach providing us with several pizza pies and cookies in between double headders. A belief that these practices were not appropriate, prompted me to seek out information as to what I should be doing to boost performance. It was mainly an internal reason for questioning these practices. Coaches never talked to us once about proper dietary practices for sport. Unfortunately, players who wanted to deviate from these provided food options were subject to either the “to go” processed items available in the dining hall or the use of their own monetary funds to purchase healthier alternatives.

          • Hanna
            Hanna says:

            As a former division I athlete, I can relate to having to eat on the road quite a bit as well. But because our athletic budget is fairly big, I never had to “try” and eat healthy from the vending machine or other convenience types of options. While it is not impossible, I do see the struggle here. And Dylan, you are exactly right, Coaches do not have the proper knowledge to counsel their athletes on how to eat for sport. Every athletic team in the nation should have a sports nutritionist. Or at the very least, the full set of Ebooks we are publishing 🙂

    • Hanna
      Hanna says:

      I agree, Laura! Like Nick mentioned below, I too, enjoyed the commentary on fueling during tournaments. This information is applicable to all sports, however. Think of long track meets that span the entire day, football games that run upwards of four hours, grueling tennis matches, etc, etc. We have a lot to teach in terms of giving athletes and their families proper information on how to fuel for sport. I can’t wait for the Ebook as well!

  3. Dylan A. Bailey
    Dylan A. Bailey says:

    First off, I loved the in depth nutritional breakdown of the dugout food staple, sunflower seeds (ranch flavored are my favorite!). Such a small package truly compacts an extensive nutrient list. Second, I really enjoyed Jennas stance on steroid use in baseball. Young athletes idolize major leaguers, and to see such extensive steroid application within the MLB is sending dangerous messages to active youth compounded by negative health implications. The idea of promoting food consumption to assess the impact it has on a players performance/body composistion goals before resorting to steroid use was a tremendous concept put forth by Jenna, highlighting the important role a dietitian can play in preventing steroid usage among athletes. What an informative podcast from Jenna and Tavis!

    • Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS
      Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS says:

      Being around S&C rooms, I hear a lot of young kids chatter about taking things that will help them hit home runs because “chicks dig the long ball”. We need about 10,000 Jenna’s around the country promoting to alter what one pro player (Ryan Braun) does to cheat.

  4. Dylan A. Bailey
    Dylan A. Bailey says:

    First off, I loved the in depth nutritional breakdown of the dugout food staple, sunflower seeds (ranch flavored are my favorite!). Such a small package truly compacts an extensive nutrient list. Second, I really enjoyed Jennas stance on steroid use in baseball. Young athletes idolize major leaguers, and to see such extensive steroid application within the MLB is sending dangerous messages to active youth compounded by negative health implications. The idea of promoting food consumption to assess the impact it has on a players performance/body composistion goals before resorting to steroid use was a tremendous concept put forth by Jenna, highlighting the important role a dietitian can play in preventing steroid usage among athletes. What an informative podcast from Jenna and Tavis!

    • Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS
      Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS says:

      Being around S&C rooms, I hear a lot of young kids chatter about taking things that will help them hit home runs because “chicks dig the long ball”. We need about 10,000 Jenna’s around the country promoting to alter what one pro player (Ryan Braun) does to cheat.

  5. Ryan Turner, RD
    Ryan Turner, RD says:

    I love how passionate Jenna is not only for baseball or nutrition, but truly both together, she has to be the ultimate resource for any baseball player. Fueling over the course of a tournament day/weekend can be incredibly challenging, and different from many other sports. So many great tips. Looking forward to the ebook.

  6. Ryan Turner, RD
    Ryan Turner, RD says:

    I love how passionate Jenna is not only for baseball or nutrition, but truly both together, she has to be the ultimate resource for any baseball player. Fueling over the course of a tournament day/weekend can be incredibly challenging, and different from many other sports. So many great tips. Looking forward to the ebook.

  7. Christine Turpin RD, LDN, CSCS
    Christine Turpin RD, LDN, CSCS says:

    I love the energy you have about baseball and nutrition! The breakdown
    of sunflower seeds and tournament snacks was terrific. My 10-year old
    neighbor loves the sport and these tips will certainly help his game!
    Great information Jenna and I look forward to reading your ebook!

  8. Christine Turpin RD, LDN, CSCS
    Christine Turpin RD, LDN, CSCS says:

    I love the energy you have about baseball and nutrition! The breakdown
    of sunflower seeds and tournament snacks was terrific. My 10-year old
    neighbor loves the sport and these tips will certainly help his game!
    Great information Jenna and I look forward to reading your ebook!

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