Strikers' Soccer Player Can Teach You to Cook

Sorry, ladies. Strikers' soccer team starting defender Jack Stewart is not offering a private visit to cook up something special. (Or not yet, anyway.) He is, however, slinging sides and mains over on Cooking With Athletes, a recipe and nutrition blog for people who actually play sports, as opposed to professional couch potatoes and diners like me.

A new arrival to Fort Lauderdale, Stewart came by way of Dallas, Minneapolis, Chicago, and a couple of stints abroad, where he played on various teams. Yet it was in California while healing from a knee surgery that he conceived the blog. 

As much as he hopes to shape athletes' eating habits, it's as much about kids. "Imagine when someone like David Beckham says that brussel sprouts are the best food ever," he said. "Every kid would be clamoring to eat them." He has been aligning with charities to help promote nutrition literacy in schools as well as fight childhood obesity.

One thing: Stewart didn't really know how to cook when he started Cooking With Athletes.
"My family was busy or we went out to eat a lot," he says, citing his early attempts of cooking as trial and error. Eventually, he dedicated post-practice afternoons to learning to cook. His biggest debacle so far has been making coconut shrimp because he bought the pre-cooked ones. 

These days, he says he's into breakfast, since "you can do so many cool and unique things with it." He's also nostalgic for bumps on a log. Certainly athlete food. I kind of wish a chef would doll that up for a high brow version.

"Use fruit vegetable salsas and fruit chutneys as accompaniments to meat or poultry in place of heavy gravies or sauces," he writes in his cooking tips section. Or "Use a microwave for vegetables: shorter cooking time reduces nutrient loss and usually no added water or fat is needed." Perhaps I should take heart after last night's meal of guanciale and lardo.

These tips are all in the day's meals, which for Stewart, is about 2300 calories. A day's worth of eating includes protein shakes, a big salad or chicken and rice for lunch, and fish with vegetables for dinner. Forget donuts: snacks are peanut butter sandwiches or fruit. 

Stewart is also chronicling his team-mates favorite dishes and places to eat available for those with a subscription. Any suggestions for Stewart and company for eating out for athletes?For what it's worth, Stewart says he likes Mexican food. Head on over here to weigh in or start cooking. 

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