By Gina Miller, CBS 11 News

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Any professional athlete needs to stay healthy, and that includes eating a healthy diet. But the Dallas Stars have an unofficial nutrition sheriff that keeps the team in check – one of their own players. Brad Richards recently took CBS 11 News on a trip to the grocery store, to observe his tricks for keeping himself and his teammates in top shape.

“It’s become fun, a little bit of a hobby,” Richards said.

The 30-year-old hockey player is also an admitted nutrition buff, more than most other professional sports stars. “The older you get, the less days you have,” Richards said. “You can touch your toes and feel great and go play, so there’s so many benefits of eating well.”

So, what foods does Richards pick up for the Stars to eat in the locker room and on the road?

“This is a staple in our locker room now – almond butter,” Richards told CBS 11 News. “This is easy when you travel, little packets, put them on fruit… surprisingly good.”

Richards said that he also avoids processed foods and refined sugars, getting the majority of his calories from produce and lean proteins. “Don’t eat as much red meat, turkey, fish, chicken,” Richards said.

That said, Richards does allow for the occasional indulgence – but even that is pretty healthy. If you want to eat some chips or snacks, pick multi-grain foods. And he does enjoy dark chocolate after a meal.

The healthy eating habits that Richards has adopted have influenced many of his teammates to start eating healthy as well. For example, the Stars have eliminated ranch dressing from the training table. There are a few unhealthy foods mixed in there, but it’s progress. “Still an on-going battle,” Richards said, “still ketchup in there. Our breakfasts in the morning are a lot cleaner now.”

“As you get older, your body doesn’t feel the same,” Richards said. “You start to realize that eating well goes a long way with your performance.”

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