Go for gold
Fuel your body and your mind the way local Olympic athletes do
If you’re looking for Olympic inspiration for lunch or dinner, look no further than our local athletes, who know that a wellbalanced diet can give them strength and energy when they need it most.
To help them do just that, the Canadian Sport Centre Calgary (CSCC) has opened the Fuel for Gold food kiosk in MacEwan Hall at the University of Calgary, serving nutritious meals made with fresh, organic, locally sourced ingredients, helping both Olympic athletes and university students reach their goals.
“We already had that expertise in place and we had already been doing something for the athletes, but the idea was taking it a bit farther so that we could provide that to the staff, students and faculty here at the university,” says David Haughton, CSCC’s director of marketing and partnerships.
With one of the world’s top Olympic and Paralympic sport training environments based on the university campus, the Fuel for Gold program originated four years ago to provide CSCC-registered athletes with convenient, affordable and nutritious lunch options. It began small, with a meal served out of a classroom to provide healthy fuel before or after workouts.
“It first started as one meal — now there’s a variety of meals and a variety of options,” Haughton says.
“From Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., they can go down any time and know they’re going to get something healthy to eat, rather than be forced to make some choices that might not be so healthy.”
The new kiosk sits among 15 other food offerings in MacEwan Hall and is what Haughton calls a “healthier hybrid version” of what was available.
The student union — which runs Mac Hall and already featured several well-known food brands — came on board after learning about the kiosk’s healthy, fresh approach.
“They embraced it right away because, in their eyes, the student body was looking for something else here,” Haughton says, adding the concept of supporting local athletes was well received.
“It’s not just about fuelling the body, but for them it was fuelling the mind as well.”
Sourcing most of its food from Gunther’s Fine Baking, Gordon Food Services and local farmers’ markets, the Fuel for Gold kiosk menu was created by a team of CSCC staff. This included longtime professional chefs along with nutritionist Kelly Anne Erdman, who is currently in London to ensure the dozens of Canadian ath- letes have healthy foods while competing at the Olympics.
The goal, Haughton says, was to create a menu that met the nutritional needs of athletes but would appeal to everyone, by incorporating home cooked and healthy options. Think quinoa and vegetable salad; fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil on an olive ciabatta; or roasted Alberta bison with sweet potato wedges and grilled vegetables.
“A lot of people go down on a daily basis and love it. They love the food, the quality of it and the service. They love the story behind the story and what it’s supporting, because the whole idea is all the proceeds — once we’re done with the operating costs — go back into the services at the CSCC,” he says.
The Centre provides athletes with a vast range of medical- and science-based services, including biomechanics, strength and conditioning training, mental performance and nutrition.
By expanding the Fuel for Gold program, Haughton says CSCC is creating sustainable and creative ways to operate, without being solely dependent on funding from government and other supporting partners.
As interest in the program grows, there are plans for expanding and collaborating with the universities of Alberta and Toronto during the 2015 Pan Am Games, as well as with WinSport Canada as it continues its development.
For more information, menus and healthy recipes, visit fuelforgold.com.
Fuel for Gold’s director of marketing and sponsorship David Haughton inside the kitchen of the group’s public kiosk in MacEwan Hall at the University of Calgary.
A basa fillet with grilled vegetables and brown rice, left, and a cup of granola, yogurt and fruit, all available at Fuel for Gold, a project that went from serving healthy food to local Canadian Olympians to serving the whole U of C campus.