Q & A with Professional Goalie: Mike McKenna

 Mike McKenna (born April 11, 1983) is an American professional ice hockey goaltender. He is currently signed with the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League (NHL).  Photo Credit: Shattered Lens Photography

Mike McKenna (born April 11, 1983) is an American professional ice hockey goaltender. He is currently signed with the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Photo Credit: Shattered Lens Photography

Q: What is the biggest challenge you find with being a goalie as it relates to food and nutrition?

A: I think the biggest challenge is making sure I have food prepped the day before home games. I prefer to eat leftovers from the previous night if I can, so I try to make sure it's balanced: meat, veggies, and maybe some root vegetables. I stay away from pasta and rice for the most part. The unique aspect of being a goaltender is the amount of sweat we lose...it's essential to stay hydrated, which can be difficult. It's really important to stay on top of it every day whether practice or game.

Q: What is one (or more) of your favorite go-to snacks to keep your energy levels up?

I love fruit and nuts, especially in summer and fall when everything is farm fresh! We always have apples, peaches, melons, berries, and citrus fruits in our fridge. In the winter, I like to make hummus. Recently I've started getting creative with it and mixing in different things. It's really versatile and goes great with raw root vegetables which you can get fresh all through winter. If I'm in a pinch, I love GoMacro bars, especially the high protein ones.

Q: What is your favorite fruit or vegetable and how do you like to have it?

Fruit is so hard to pick! We have amazing peaches in the Midwest (I live in St. Louis during the off season) and I usually eat one or two a day when they're in season. And our whole family loves watermelon.

As for vegetables, I love roasting Brussels sprouts until they're slightly browned. My favorite way is to coat them in half EVOO and half bacon fat on a rimmed baking sheet. Hit them with some kosher salt & fresh ground pepper, then cook at 425°. Then I like to add chili flakes, cilantro, and an Asian-inspired vinaigrette.

Q: If you could give a nutrition tip to another athlete what would it be?

Avoid processed foods and don't be afraid of natural animal fats! My diet is relatively high in fat but most of it comes from animal-based sources that are usually organic and/or grass fed. Fat has been demonized for so long and I truly believe it is an essential part of an athletes diet...as long as it's the right kind.

Q: What if your favorite food or dish to cook/grill?

It depends on the season. In the winter I absolutely love using my Dutch oven to braise meats and simmer stews. Tough cuts like short ribs and pork shoulder that take a long time to reach tenderness are so rewarding when cooked properly...and delicious!

In the summer you can't beat grilling/smoking pork steaks (it's a St. Louis thing...) and chicken. It's so simple...grab your favorite rub, let it cook on indirect heat for a while, then mop some barbecue sauce on for the last 10 minutes. I could eat it daily!