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I nearly went into cardiac arrest when I heard rumors that Pizza & Wings Friday was going to be axed from the Under Armour Performance Center lunch menu.
So I called to get the scoop from Team Nutritionist Sue James and talked to the chefs at Classic Catering, who handle all the food for the team.
Turns out, the team is not eliminating pizza and wings (whew!), but is adding more nutritious options and making those “other” foods healthier.
The team has long been concerned about having good, healthy options. There are clear indicators of what’s healthy: a full salad bar, plenty of fruits and veggies and always a slimming main entrée option.
Now the Ravens are simply trying to – figuratively and literally – trim the fat.
For example, white bread, white pasta and white rice are out. They’ve been replaced by whole wheat bread, whole wheat rice and quinoa. Mashed potatoes used to be made with three pounds of butter and heavy cream, but are now crafted with 2% milk.
The chest full of ice cream treats has been moved aside to make room for a new triple-wide soft serve dispenser. When you shoot air into ice cream it gloriously makes it healthier.
The use of vegetable oil has been replaced with olive oil. They’re using local products that will have more vitamins (not to mention support local businesses).
Pizza day is being moved from Fridays to Monday or Tuesday, and thus not close to game days.
Tater tots are now sweet potato tots, and are baked instead of fried. In fact, fried foods are out entirely. That’s right, no more fried wings. They’ll be baked wings instead.
Even “Victory Cake,” the treat served to players and staff the day after a win, is up for discussion.
“We’re not taking away the less healthy options, but we’re adding a lot more variety of healthier options,” said Director of Food Services, Tenille Moore.
“We’re just trying to make everything healthier. It’s baby steps, but it will make a big difference in how they play and how they feel through the week.”
The team has always had color-coordinated indicators of the healthiness of foods. A red dotted item means eat in moderation. Yellow is middle of the road. Green means go ahead and stuff yourself.
Now, there will be an info sheet detailing exactly how many carbs, how much protein and fat content is in meals. Eaters can choose the “best performance” foods of the day, which will hang right next to a recipe for the Power Man’s Salad.
It’s all good stuff, all intended to help the players perform better and keep weekend warriors with love handles like myself in better shape.
While we’re at it, here are a few fast facts when it comes to feeding the Ravens:
1,620 – The number of individual meals consumed by a 90-man roster in one week (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
500 – The number of ordered pounds of chicken per week
200 – The number of burgers flipped on Grill Day
80 – Pounds of fish required when serving it as an entrée in one meal