Ready to play ball? Eat your broccoli first!

Meet Dr. Tawni Holmes, a professor at UCO and the director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics in the Human Environmental Science Department, where she has been teaching nutrition and dietetics since 2004. She incorporates many service-learning projects and transformative experiences in her courses and encourages and mentors students to participate in undergraduate projects.

photo of Dr, Tawni Holmes and Patrick Limon in front of research posterOne current, out-of-class project that she supervises is STLR-funded and called “Assessment of Wellness Behavior in Student Athletes.” This project started after Professor Holmes noticed that her student athletes did not have a lot of knowledge when it came to sustaining a healthy diet. This was understandable since the Athletic Department did not have a nutritionist on campus.

The project started taking assessments from the football team and over the course of two years has spread throughout the entire athletic department. This project has improved student athletes’ performance, not only on the court and field, but also in the classroom.

The students who work with Professor Holmes create meal plans and run a snack station to make sure athletes have healthy food before and after practices. They also have used STLR funding to purchase blenders for smoothies and protein shakes for the players. As these STLR students graduate, some have even been hired full-time by the Athletic Department to be on-site nutritionists.

During the COVID-19 quarantine the STLR students have continued the project on social media by posting recipes, meal plans, and by promoting fruits- and vegetables-of-the-month. They also plan to release videos soon! You can follow them on Instagram @uconutrition_performance for nutritious tips.

written by Amanda Ables

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