The Foods & Nutrition Corner is brought to you on a monthly basis by students in Waukee High School's APEX program. In consultation with registered dietitians from Fareway, students research a variety of nutrition topics focused on improving the well-being of student-athletes. We'll also share a new recipe every month related to the primary topic discussed.

This month's Foods & Nutrition Corner written by Sophie Havnen, Waukee APEX Associate

The Importance of Adequate Protein Intake for Athletes

Why Protein is Important

Protein is important to an athlete because it helps fuel the body properly, provides energy, and helps preserve muscle tissue, allowing the muscles to do their job. Without consuming enough protein regularly, an athlete might notice muscle wasting. This is because the body is not getting all the amino acids it requires, and it is breaking down muscle to find amino acids to use. This could result in lower energy levels, fatigue, and lack of coordination.

How Much and When

While it varies from athlete to athlete, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Protein should be spaced throughout the day and after workouts for optimal energy and muscle repair. If, for example, there was a sporting event after school, incorporating some source of protein at breakfast and lunch, followed by a protein source within an hour after the sporting event is suggested to aid in muscle repair.

High Protein Sources

Animal sources are typically the highest quality proteins (fish, poultry, beef, pork, milk, cheese, eggs, etc.) Non-animal protein sources include nuts, legumes, seeds, tofu, and quinoa.

Recipe of the Month - Pumpkin Cookie Protein Balls


  • 1 1⁄2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

  • 3⁄4 cup creamy unsweetened peanut butter

  • 1⁄4 cup pumpkin puree

  • 2 tbsp. honey

  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder or collagen

  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds

  • 2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds

  • 2 tbsp. Mini chocolate chips

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

  • pinch of salt


  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine and stir all the ingredients.

  2. Roll mixture into balls and store in the fridge.

Link to Recipe Online


Caitlyn Ferin, Registered Dietitian at Fareway Stores

Nutrition 101

The IGHSAU Foods & Nutrition Corner is created by high school students in Waukee High School's APEX program. The IGHSAU is thankful for its partnership with Waukee APEX to create meaningful content to share with our member schools, student-athletes, coaches, and fans. To learn more about Waukee APEX, click here.