By Mrinal Gokhale
On the evening of January 25, the Hartford University School basketball students gathered in the school gymnasium, getting photographed with Milwaukee Bucks players Miles Plumlee and Tyler Ennis.
Plumlee and Ennis interacted with the seventh and eighth grade athletes, discussing the importance of staying in school and detailing their NBA player diets.
This “Eat Like an NBA Player” seminar was part three of NBA Fit Week, where Ennis, Plumlee, Rashad Vaughn and Michael Carter-Williams coordinated games involving movement and discussions focusing on healthy eating.
Carter-Williams and Vaughn held recess activities at Brown Street Academy and Hartford University School earlier in the day, followed by “Eat Like An NBA Player” from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
“Children are our future fan base and we want to set them up for success in academics and athletics,” said Alicia Dupies, VP of marketing and communications for the Milwaukee Bucks.
“We added this seminar because there’s so many convenient yet unhealthy food options and we want to teach the kids to eat healthy.”
The Milwaukee Bucks held NBA FIT Week in partnership with Pick ‘n Save and Playworks Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization that educates children on the importance of physical activity for social and emotional well-being.
“CDC reports show recess is vital to emotional and physical well-being, and we partner with 20 schools, coordinating events that encourage children to play,” said PJ Deaver, Playworks Wisconsin program coordinator.
As Plumlee and Ennis started a question and answer session with the students, they advised the students to have a backup plan, and not to aim to be an NBA player, saying education should always come first.
After they were done answering students’ questions, Roundy’s registered dietitian Tatiana Castellino discussed the importance of nutrition and athletics.
“Make sure what you eat matches what you are doing,” she began, adding that processed foods and fast foods should be limited.
She then posed the question, “Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Eat the rainbow?’”
Once student mentioned the Skittles “taste the rainbow” slogan. Castellino laughed and explained that to eat a balanced diet, it’s good to have a colorful plate and that rainbow colors are red, orange, blue, yellow, purple and green.
“And no, Doritos do not count as orange because they’re not nutritious,” she laughed.
After conveying the importance of fruits and vegetables, Castellino asked the teens to name protein sources, upon which they mentioned milk, eggs, cheese and tofu.
Castellino then announced that she’s going to have everyone form groups and make one of her favorite recipes.
“This recipe is convenient enough to put into a sandwich baggie and take anywhere,” she said.
The students then formed small teams, stuffing whole wheat tortillas with bell peppers, spinach, hummus and cheese.
Attendees were allowed to keep leftovers at the end.
Before leaving the gymnasium, the students formed lines and requested autographs and photographs with Ennis and Plumlee.
NBA Fit Week offers participating schools an incentive to keep their students active: free tickets to the Friday night Bucks game on January 29.
“We provided teachers a lesson plan to increase movement within their classrooms, and classes that complete challenges are entered in a drawing to win tickets to the Bucks game this Friday,” said Deaver.
Retired Bucks legend Sidney Moncrief will visit Siefert Elementary School on Fri, Jan 29 to coordinate movement games and discuss healthy lifestyle activities.
Visit Bucks.com for more on NBA Fit Week in Milwaukee.