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Meet the Man Who Helps the Dallas Cowboys Fuel up

Scott Sehnert played football growing up in Indiana, rooting for the Chicago Bears and star running back Walter Payton. He dreamed of maybe making it to the NFL one day, too.

That dream has come true, though in a different way than Sehnert imagined when he was playing linebacker and on the offensive line for his high school team.

After finishing his only year playing football at Ball State University, Sehnert found a course of study that he said “ignited a passion” by combining his love of sports with nutrition. He enrolled in Ball State’s dietetics program and shifted his focus from the gridiron to the training table.

Scott Sehnert

After working at different colleges, including a seven-year run at Auburn University, where he oversaw the nutrition needs of athletes playing 21 sports, Sehnert MS, RDN, LD, CSSD, CSCS is in his third season with the Dallas Cowboys as the team’s director of sports performance.

The conversations with the Cowboys players don’t revolve around football memories as much as they do nutrition and how healthy diets can lead to a better performance on the field.

“The questions are all over the place,” Sehnert said. “A lot of times, it’s based on what fad is hot at the time or they’ll ask about a certain diet because that’s what their wives are eating and talking about. Some will say they’re losing weight they don’t want to, or they’re fatigued and hurting. They want to know which foods provide energy or fight inflammation and soreness.”

Every week of the National Football League season requires Sehnert to follow a very structured schedule that includes coordination and meetings with the team’s chef for breakfast, lunch and snacks, as well as making sure everything is in place for the game-day and postgame meals. He’s at every practice, working with the trainers to make sure players are staying hydrated and getting nutritious snacks to get them through the grueling day.

Dairy is among the healthy food categories available to the Cowboys players, including custom-made smoothies, high-protein milk drinks and dedicated coolers full of milk, cheese and yogurt for those on the go.

All told, the Cowboys consume about 220 pounds of cheese, 200 pounds of yogurt and 450 pounds of milk each month.

“We have dairy all over the place in our facility, from the training table to the players’ lounge to our fueling station,” he said. “We have players who really enjoy yogurt parfaits, some guys eat cereal and milk and a number of them like cheese. Dairy is present in every aspect, and most of the players really enjoy it.”

And while he personally believes in dairy’s nutritional benefits, he also understands nutrition advice is often best served in small bites to the players.

“I don’t force anything on them,” he said. “I learned it’s better to be patient with players and their beliefs and drop bits of information to them as appropriate. It’s most important that they lead a balanced and healthy lifestyle and stay fueled, so they can perform their best.”