The Gymnastics Kitchen with Betsy: Power Food - Seeds

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports USATSI_9461610.jpg

When preparing meal plans for my gymnasts, I always include seeds in their diets. Seeds are some of the most important components of a diet rich in calcium, magnesium, vitamins, protein, fatty acids and anti-oxidants. These are all important for athletes, who need to keep bones and muscles strong.

Below, I've listed my favorite seeds and WHY they are essential to a gymnast's meal plan.


This seed is famous for being on hamburger buns, but it actually has health benefits that do more than just sit on top of your hamburger. Sesame seeds are known for calcium, copper and magnesium, which are all essential for strong bones and muscle function.

Sesame seeds are also known for their anti-inflammatory effects, which relieve tired and sore muscles. Try tahini butter, a nutty butter made from the seeds of sesame, and spread it on ezekiel toast or mix it into Greek yogurt for a nutty treat.


Halloween may be just around the corner, but there is more to do with the inside of that pumpkin than just throwing out the contents. Like sesame seeds, pumpkin is loaded with magnesium, copper and calcium, which all aid with strong bone function.

The seeds are also filled with Omega-3 fatty acids which help with heart and brain health. An interesting fact with pumpkin seeds is research suggests they help with sleep due to the amino acid, tryptophan found in them. After a four-hour practice, a gymnast most definitely needs her sleep!


These seeds are very popular right now with health food gurus. Chia means "strength" in the Mayan language and this is an ancient seed. These seeds are known for helping metabolism and energy. They are also loaded with protein, fiber and Omega-3s.

All gymnasts need energy, protein for muscle repair and healthy fats for joint and brain health. Add these seeds into green kale shakes or on top of yogurt, or use in chicken or fish marinades for a crunchy punch.


It's not just a pretty flower! Inside are some of the most powerful seeds on earth. These selenium-rich seeds are known for their anti-cancer properties. And their vitamin E works wonders for skin, hair and nails, and again more magnesium and calcium for bone health.

These seeds can also help with muscle soreness and energy. Sprinkle them on top of salads or eat in snack mixes with other dried fruits or nuts.


This beautiful, colorful and somewhat tough-to-eat fruit is loaded with some of the most powerful and potent anti-oxidants on the planet. Pomegranate destroys free radicals that prey upon healthy cells. The seeds of this fruit are loaded with vitamin C to improve immunity and fend off sickness.

Pomegranate seeds are also heart-healthy, and help with blood flow and cartilage repair. Gymnasts are consistently on tight schedules, which compromise their immunity and break down muscle fibers daily. Add pomegranate seeds to salads, in the bottom of a sparkling water drinks, or eat them by the handful for a sweet, juicy snack.

If you are a gymnast, add these seeds to your meal plan! They are not only delicious, but also functional in aiding your muscle repair, bone health, energy levels, sleep and more!

Betsy McNally-Laouar is a sports nutritionist and personal trainer for gymnasts. She trains the elite and upper level athletes at Cincinnati Gymnastics. Betsy is an online trainer and nutrition planner. If you are interested in learning more about her nutritional plans or training plans check her out at or email her at

2018 SEC Conference Season Preview

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 7.23.04 AM.png

The SEC is always a conference packed with talent, and there's a tight battle to be the best every season. With many teams in the SEC in the top 10 in the country, this season is sure to bring out some great competition within the conference. 

Utah Red Rocks Preview Gives Glimpse Into 2018 Season

2017 Michigan at Utah by Melissa Majchrzak-USA TODAY Sports 29.jpg

Utah hosted their annual Red Rocks preview at the Huntsman Center on Friday night in front of 5,100 adoring fans on Friday. All 12 Utes on the roster showed at least two events and Co-head Coach Tom Farden was pleased with the performances he saw. Watch routine videos from the exhibition HERE.

Highlights From 2017-2018 NCAA Preseason Previews

Chris Parent LSU Gym 101.jpg

The 2018 NCAA gymnastics season kicks off next month, but fans were treated to a sneak peek at what the top programs are working on in various preview meets this past weekend. 

Ivana Hong Among Five Newly Elected To USA Gymnastics Athletes’ Council

Ivana Hong Interview flash.jpg

Five athletes have been added to the USA Gymnastics Athletes’ Council, elected by the national team members of each discipline. Each discipline has two members, and the new athletes will be on the council for four years beginning in January 2018.

Complete 2018 NCAA Meet Schedule

2017 NCAA Championships Semifinal 1 by Christy Ann Linder 42.jpg

View the complete schedule for 2018 NCAA competitions below.

Head Coach Kristi Ewasko's Contract Not Renewed For SEMO Gymnastics

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 10.42.38 AM.png

Release via SEMO Athletics

2018 Pac-12 Conference Season Preview

2017 Pac-12 Championship by Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports 30.jpg

The Pac-12 is packed with talent, and the conference will surely field a great battle this season for the top spot. Utah is the reigning Pac-12 champion and the team will need to be at its best this year to repeat with all the outstanding talent in the conference.

Bylaw Amendments Adopted By USA Gymnastics Board Of Directors

Beam landing generic flash.jpg

Led by president and CEO Kerry Perry, USA Gymnastics has made official amendments to their bylaws after the changes were passed by the board of directors on December 9. 

Top 5 NCAA First-Meet Matchups For 2018 Season

2017 NCAA Championships Semifinal 2 by Christy Ann Linder 109.jpg

The start of the 2018 NCAA season is right around the corner, with teams and fans eagerly awaiting the first matchups of the year. The first official week of competition begins right after New Year's Day, kicking off on Friday, January 5.

Simone Biles Becomes Honorary Texans Cheerleader

Simone Texans

The sweet, sweet power of Twitter never fails to make dreams come true far and wide. A few weeks ago, Simone Biles let the world know that being an NFL cheerleader would be the most fun. Next thing we all know, it's Miss Biles on the sidelines during Sunday's game!