[ EATS ]

Among the dishes available for the UH football team at the Hale Aloha cafeteria is, clockwise from lower left, mixed green salad and broiled chicken breast and brown rice; a variety of ice cream, sodas, juices and water; braised beef and fried saimin; and clam chowder.

Eat like a Warrior

These athletes can teach dieters
a thing or two about healthy meals

Maybe I can't throw or catch a 25-yard pass or stop a 250-pound human tank, but at less than 5 feet tall and 90 pounds, there is an arena where I can whomp a UH Warrior, and that's in the dining hall.

Oh, the athletic department would love to paint a picture of carnage in the cafeteria. The notion of Warriors chomping on hambones or devouring the gridiron equivalent to a sumotori's chanko nabe would strike fear into opponents, but honestly, eating with these guys is like lunching with the ladies at the country club: This one can't have carbs, that one's counting calories and everyone's weighing the disadvantages of dessert.


Pounds of food eaten each day by 104 players and their coaches. Amounts will increase when 25 more players join the team:

280 - Red meat

90 - Rice

75 - Potatoes

200 - Chicken

If it's mealtime carnage you want, look to the regular student body members who I've seen pile cheesy pizza upon greasy steak upon burgers with buns. The Warriors are more disciplined than that, an elite squad for whom eating right is part of a job they take very seriously, approaching meal time with discipline, orderliness and eat-and-run efficiency. Few players spent more than 20 minutes over dinner at Hale Aloha after a preseason training practice.

The Sodexho staff cooks up meals made up by trainers and based on NCAA guidelines, so coaches don't have to play plate police. The menus are a balance of fruit, raw and steamed vegetables, salads, carbs and lean protein. Bananas are prized for potassium content, and fried foods are the big no-no. There are desserts of cake, pie and ice cream too, but consumption of these is negligible.

"As long as they're on the meal plan, they eat pretty healthy," said strength and conditioning coach Mel deLaura. "Besides, they're kids. Everything they eat they burn off."

But try to convince these guys they won't ruin their figures with a piece of cake.

"I try to keep myself healthy and I think everyone else here feels the same way," said receiver Chad Owens. "We got to, we gotta protect our bodies."

Like most local kids, Owens grew up on rice-and-macaroni-laden plate lunches. These days, he's taking the no-carb path. He'll eat lean protein, fruit and a big salad for lunch and dinner. "If I do eat rice it's brown rice," he says.

"We're well taken care of here. It's when we're out on our own that we get stuck, when you gotta make do with what you've got. I hate to do it, but sometimes you gotta go to the $1 (fast food) menu and just look for the best food."

In his fourth year, safety Leonard Peters has been trying for four years to gain 45 pounds, but has 10 more pounds to go to hit his game goal of 205 pounds. He's focusing on protein consumption "but not junk food, good food." That means, even with access to an unlimited supply of ice cream in the cafeteria, the dessert is a once-a-week treat for him.

Because he has to work so hard at gaining weight, his teammates sometimes tease him, but he says, "I don't care; I just run right by 'em. Probably when I finish playing college football gaining weight will be easy."



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