Ray Rice has a secret weapon. Fantasy football fans may quickly guess that the secret, perhaps, has to do with bionic legs, a jet pack attached to his shoulder pads, or the ability to leap tall buildings (or linebackers) in a single bound. Actually, it has to do with milk.
Rice is an extremely valuable fantasy player and rushed for 1,220 yards last year to go along with 556 receiving yards. Oh, and he fumbled a grand total of zero times. NFL Fantasy has Rice ranked in the top five running backs going into the 2011 season.
What is his special fuel? Milk. The little circle just off to the side of MyPlate is dairy. Dairy is a key component to a healthy diet. It is good for your bones and includes nutrients such as calcium, potassium, Vitamin D, and protein. It is especially important for kids, as their bone mass is being built, but also important to adults to retain that mass and fight osteoporosis.
In the Fantasy Football Food Formation, milk is part of the milk, yogurt, and cheese group. Some examples are, well, milk, yogurt, and cheese! Can’t get much simpler than that, right? Well, it sounds pretty simple, but then consider the types of milk: whole milk, 2% milk, 1% milk, flavored milk, lactose reduced or free milk, skim milk, soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, and the ever popular (in Tibet anyway) yak milk.
Each is a little different when it comes to nutrition or other health issues such as lactose intolerance (the inability that some have to digest a sugar found in milk). Check out this article for the skinny on milk nutrition. It gives pros and cons on many types of milks. The most popular is the type we see in every supermarket or convenience store – cow’s milk. It has the most calcium and protein. Plus, you have options on reducing calories and fat by selecting skim or 1% milk.
So what does Ray Rice fuel up on? He suggests chocolate milk after a good exercise to help his body recover faster. He commonly chooses milk or water to help keep his body active. In an interview with the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association, a sponsor of Fuel Up to Play 60, Rice says, “It is important for an NFL player to eat right and be active because one thing that you are taught is that if you don’t take care of your body, who else will?” And that doesn’t just go for NFL players. Rice adds, football fans “see us on Sundays playing the game and they wonder what we are doing” but “you don’t have to be a professional athlete to be active with your life.”
So check out the Fantasy Healthball Food Formation and make dairy a part of your healthy diet. Join us in Training Camp until the regular NFL games begin. And take care of that body – because as Ray Rice says, “who else will?” — Jim Ballard