Go for gold

Fuel your body and your mind the way lo­cal Olympic ath­letes do

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - MELISSA LAMP­MAN

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.

Pho­tos, Colleen De Neve, Cal­gary Her­ald

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.

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