Healthy Food is a Slam Dunk with the Northern Arizona Suns!

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Your Healthy Kitchen, YRMC’s cooking and nutrition program, headed down the road in November to the Prescott Valley Event Center, to cook and visit with the Northern Arizona Suns! Six talented NAZ Suns players and their trainer, Jervae Odom, graciously took time out of their busy schedules to talk about what it takes to be a professional basketball player, prepare a healthy snack, and even goof around a bit on the court!

It takes a lot of hard work and talent to make it onto an NBA G-League team like the Northern Arizona Suns. The guys on the team have been playing basketball since they were kids – many starting as young as five years old! According to Jervae, “These guys are professional athletes, who train and play hard everyday. It takes a lot of talent to make it this far.”

Nutrition plays an important role in the lives of professional athletes, and the NAZ Suns are no exception. This year, as part of an agreement with Gatorade, the team is working with a sports dietician – learning to navigate and purchase healthy foods from the grocery store; choose well from fast food and sit-down restaurants while eating on the road; and prepare meals and snacks for long-lasting energy. Jervae notices when the guys are eating well. “Good nutrition really makes a difference in a players’ performance. These guys need around 4,000 calories a day, and we teach and encourage them to make good choices”. Whole grains, lean proteins, fruit, nuts, and vegetables are commonly incorporated into meals, smoothies and snacks. “We are all fans of peanut butter and jam on whole grain bread”, adds Jervae.

Six NAZ Suns players joined us to make homemade ‘Not a Sugar Bomb Suns Granola’, chop fresh fruit, and serve it all together with plain, unsweetened yogurt for a wholesome snack. While sugary foods (like many types of store-bought granola) can provide a quick burst of energy, they also often trigger a ‘crash’ later on. Pro ball players can’t afford to feel fatigued, so this granola contains lots of high fiber nuts and seeds, healthy fat and just a little honey for sweetener. We also spiked it with anti-inflammatory, cinnamon and cacao (raw cocoa powder) for added flavor and sweetness, without added sugar!

Not a Sugar Bomb Suns Granola

To learn more about cooking simple, fresh, delicious meals, check out all of our videos at You can also follow us on Facebook at YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen. YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen is one of the many ways Yavapai Regional Medical Center, your local not-for-profit healthcare provider, supports health education and wellness in Yavapai County.