News Release Distributed 04/13/15
BATON ROUGE, La. – After four years of helping college athletes stay healthy, Jamie Meeks is going pro. The registered dietitian and alumna of the LSU College of Agriculture’s School of Nutrition and Food Sciences has been named the director of sports nutrition for the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans.
Meeks directed LSU’s athletic nutrition program before joining the Saints and Pelicans.
“I think the role will be similar, but now that these athletes have made it to the big league, my job is to help them stay there,” Meeks said. “I’ll be doing a lot of education on how to keep their bodies healthy and also prevent injury.”
Meeks became interested in pursuing a career in nutrition after visiting a dietitian in high school. Meeks was preparing to try out for the LSU cheerleading squad and said she had some misconceptions about how to eat healthfully. Meeks made the team and cheered for LSU for four years. During that time she knew her passion was in sports nutrition.
“I wanted to help people become healthier and really specifically athletes become the best athletes they can be,” she said.
Meeks sees her role as an essential part of athletics.
“The way they eat is just as important as practice on the field, workouts in the weight room, rehab and treatment in the training room,” she said. “The way they fuel their body is going to get them through those hard practices and those hard games.”
Meeks said the LSU College of Agriculture’s food and nutrition sciences program prepared her for her profession.
“Everything I learned in my dietetics program as an undergrad I do now with my job as a sports dietician,” Meeks said.
As the director of sports nutrition at LSU, Meeks worked with about 500 student athletes. She said she spent a lot of time consulting with individuals. She also had to stay in close contact with coaches, athletic trainers, medical staff and equipment managers.
In her new role, she will have fewer athletes to focus on.
“I will get to focus on these guys much more, which I’m excited about, more of on a one-on-one, and really get to know them as individuals,” she said.
Meeks’ office at LSU was full of bins of nuts, dried fruit and granola. She helped open two “fueling stations” on campus that provide healthy snacks for athletes after weight training or practice or between classes.
She said it has been rewarding working with some of the best collegiate athletes in the country and seeing them make changes for the better.
“That’s what I love best – seeing the stuff that we’re teaching them being put into practice and actually helping them,” Meeks said.Tobie Blanchard