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 Claire Hansen, Waukee APEX Associate

Energy Drinks: Good or Bad?

Almost one-third of teens regularly consume energy drinks. Energy drinks with high amounts of caffeine may increase your mental and physical alertness, but the long term side effects of drinking them too often can be very dangerous.

Energy and sports drinks have different purposes- sports drinks help with recovery after exercise, energy drinks increase energy with caffeine and sugar. The physical effects of energy drinks can be very harmful because of the high levels of caffeine and sugar. Too much caffeine can cause serious heart issues, such as high blood pressure and increased heart rate. It can also cause anxiety, insomnia, and sometimes even seizures or cardiac arrest. High levels of sugars can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Energy drinks have been proven to lead to stress, substance abuse, and aggressive behavior.

Some athletes drink energy drinks before a competition because it improves their reaction time, but energy drinks have no impact on strength or power. The best beverage to consume before exercise is water. Hydrating before activity helps your body perform at its highest level. Another option instead of an energy drink is taking a supplement, such as pre-workout. Talk to your doctor about which kind is best for you. Eating a small, healthy snack (like the one below) to give your body energy is also a great option.

Recipe of the Month - No Bake Energy Balls


  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2⁄3 cup toasted shredded coconut
  • 1⁄2 cup peanut butter
  • 1⁄2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1⁄2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1⁄3 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Stir all ingredients together until thoroughly combined.
  2.  Chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
  3. Roll into balls
  4. Serve and enjoy or freeze for up to 3 months.

Link to Recipe Online


National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

The Nutrition Source

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.