Last Friday, I went up to Frisco to visit the Dallas Cowboys $1.5 billion mega-plex practice facility and headquarters, The Star. I watched their morning practice while eating lunch and talking with Dairymax, the official nutrition partner of the Dallas Cowboys.
Nutrition is science, so it goes without saying that every morsel these football players eat has been researched, studied, and approved for them. The nutritionists and chefs who work for the Cowboys are feeding them not just breakfast and lunch, but sometimes even dinner! They’re responsible for fueling these professional athletes before and after practices and games with food that is not just healthy and energizing, but also delicious! (Because, y’know, food should also taste good…)
Here are a couple tidbits I learned:
- Dairymax is the official nutrition partner of the Dallas Cowboys.
- The chefs at The Star feed not only the athletes, coaches, and trainers, but also most of the the other employees who work at the facility!
- The Cowboys get pretty much any type of food they want. They have a smoothie station, an omelette station, yogurt, pasta, veggies, meat….pretty much anything they want.
- Lots of them like to eat a sirloin steak before practices or games. 😉
- Ezekiel Elliot prefers vanilla yogurt over any other flavors.
Most of the cowboys drink their smoothies with whey protein, but some of them use plant-based protein powder.
A big ol’ lunch was prepared so I could eat while watching the Cowboys practice. (Ha! I was clearly working very hard that day…) I enjoyed a bison slider, turkey meatballs on flatbread, a serving of cauliflower béchamel mac ‘n cheese, a grain and veggie salad, some pumpkin soup, and a green smoothie while I watched them practice for their game against the Redskins. (Which they ended up winning, btw! Woot!!)
One of the Chefs at The Star prepared the Cauliflower Bechamel, which is one of the Cowboys favorite meals to eat pre- or post-workout. (I’ll add the recipe to the bottom of this post.) It’s super high in protein because of the whey protein, and it’s creamy and delicious from the whole milk and olive oil.
Post-lunch, after the Cowboys finished up their morning workout, I toured the space. The only annoying thing about touring The Star is that you can “take pictures of things, not people.” Gaaahh!! I wanted to photograph the players so badly, but that wasn’t allowed. Sorry charlie.
I grew up in Dallas and lived there until I was 18, so the Cowboys are definitely MY football team! When I was a kid, my dad would drive me past Jerry Jone’s mansion in Dallas. I was pretty excited when I saw him step out of this helicopter! Ha, not your typical commute to work..
The Star is unique in the NFL because it’s the only training facility that was really designed to allow the fans and the team to connect. It’s open to the public for tours nearly every day. You can pop in and view the space (and quite possibly see one of the Cowboys or coaches wandering around!).
If you’ve been following my blog for very long, you know that I eat everything. I have no dietary restrictions, and I believe in balance. I do consume dairy, sugar, grains, meat, veggies, fruit, and fats. I don’t shun anything.
No two bodies are exactly alike, and everyone has a different way of eating that works for them. Some people don’t do well with dairy…I get that! Some people love it. I was fascinated to learn more about the Dallas Cowboys eating patterns, and I hope you found this interesting, too!
The biggest takeaway I had from my day with Dairymax is the there isn’t just one right way of eating. I know that dairy has been shunned from a lot of diets. Maybe you’re someone who feels better if you don’t eat it! But dairy is still present in a lot of ways, and many top athletes perform well using dairy protein.
Me? I’m a mixed bag. I consume plenty of dairy (HELLO HAVE YOU SEEN HOW MUCH ICE CREAM I EAT?). I enjoy butter, cheese, and I indulge in pizza. But then, I also use plant-based protein powder in my morning smoothies, and I try to do a couple vegan, grain and veggie-based meals in my week.
I am SO thankful to Dairymax for hosting me and sharing all about their nutritional guidelines for the Cowboys!
And here’s that Cauliflower Béchamel recipe, so you can eat like a Cowboy too 😉
(makes 1 gallon)
1 Head Cauliflower
1/2 Gallon Whole Milk
1/2 Cup Unflavored Whey Protein Isolate
1/4 Cup EVOO
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp White Pepper
- Break the head of cauliflower down into medium sized florets
- In a heavy based sauce pan, add the cauliflower and milk, and cook under very low heat. Simmer until fully tender and falling apart.
- In a quality blender, add the cauliflower and ONLY enough milk to come even with the florets in the blender jar.
- Blend on high for 60-90 seconds, or until fully pureed and smooth.
- Reduce the speed of the blender and add the whey, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Use immediately as you would a traditional béchamel, or refrigerate up to 7 days.