Article Written By: Allie Woodward, Women's Track and Field

 

Even with last week’s unusual burst of sunshine, the usual cold and wet Eugene weather tends to keep Ducks curled up in blankets or soaking in the hot tub the minute outdoor practices are finished. However, last Friday’s SAAC committee Healthy Athletes participated in a new event they themselves created called Friday Night Feasts, an athlete cooking session that got us out of the house and into the kitchen.

Thanks to Student Athlete Development Coordinator, Katie Harbert, and her mom, Pat Lebrun, we caravanned to Pleasant Hill High School where the home-economics classroom was open and class was in session! Snack Shack heroes, Lad and Rachel, were there to teach hungry athletes of all sports all about the featured food, QUINOA. While I will admit I was quite a “health foodie” before attending the class, I was really surprised to come away knowing so much more about Quinoa’s health benefits.

Did you know it’s actually not a grain but a seed and is a complete protein with all essential amino acids? This makes it the perfect fuel, especially for athletes who could use a food source that does double duty as a low fat protein and energy packed carbohydrate. Lad also taught us that because quinoa is a seed, it’s necessary to wash the dry quinoa before boiling it to remove an outer coating. I had no idea! But enough with the facts, the greatest part was the hands-on action in the kitchen!

Teams of 4-6 were formed to divide and conquer a recipe list that included: Southwest Quinoa Salad, Vegetarian Quinoa Salad, Baked Lemon Herb Chicken, Salad with Basic Balsamic and Basic Honey Dijon Vinaigrettes, Homemade Granola, and Apple Cinnamon Muffins. My personal favorite was the muffins, but truly every recipe had great flavors.

Before our final feast, each group made suggestions for innovation of the recipes. We came up with a lot of unique ways to tweak the recipes so they could be used for breakfast lunch or dinner.

During the cooking process, I was happily surprised again to learn little tricks like chopping techniques and baking tips that made the cooking process valuable for more than my just my taste-buds! It was so much fun to spend a few hours with some familiar teammates and new friends too, while learning a few things about good nutrition, which is essential to any athlete’s life and also a piece often thought of as less important than our rigorous training schedules and practices. I’d definitely recommend these “Friday Night Feasts” to anyone-even if you consider cereal your only specialty!

Learning new tricks in the kitchen and using a little teamwork is always a good time. Keep an eye out for more Friday night Feasts… rumor has it there may be another one on the schedule.