Sports Nutrition Tips – When and What to Eat

2012-08-07T16:22:19+00:00 August 7th, 2012|Nutrition & Fitness|

We all know you are what you eat. The food we put into our bodies has a strong impact on how we feel and perform, especially during sports. But when you eat something before a game/practice is just as important as what you eat. You want to make sure your youth athlete is getting the right nutrition at the right time so they’ll be ready for anything!

Here are some great tips from Larry Shaw, the Head Coach of Bethel Park High School JV Girl’s Soccer about what to eat and when to eat it:

  • Plan to have your pre-game meal at least 3 hours before the match.  Your pre-game meal should be:  high in carbohydrates, low in fat, low in protein, not too bulky, and easy to digest.  Consider foods such as: breakfast cereal with low fat milk, toast or bread with jam/honey, sandwiches with banana/honey/jam, pasta/rice, energy bars, and orange juice.
  • A snack high in carbohydrate may be eaten about 2 hours before a game (time reference is only a guideline based on individual ability to digest food)
  • During the cool down you should drink sports drinks and small snacks, such as bananas/grapes
  • Once the game is over, fluids should be replaced and carbohydrates should be eaten as soon as possible, which helps to promote recovery of glycogen stores. Aim for a meal which is high in carbohydrates, such as pasta, rice, bread, potatoes and baked beans.

Carbohydrate rich foods should be the main source of calories in your athlete’s diet, specifically complex carbs.  Simple carbs are more useful as snacks between workouts, or to top up your energy intake.  The carbs your youth athlete eats should be balanced with a healthy intake of protein, low fat and plenty of fruit and vegetables.

Complex carbs

Simple carbs

Mixture of complex and simple carbs

Bread

Sugar

Cakes

Pasta

Jam

Biscuits

Rice

Honey

Puddings

Noodles

Yoghurt

Sweet pastries

Oats

Fromage Frais

Cheesecake

Breakfast cereals

Ice cream

Breakfast cereals (sweetened)

Pulses (peas, beans, lentils)

Jelly

Bananas

Baked beans

Raisins

Grapes

Apricots, peaches

Full sugar cordials

Oranges

Potatoes

Jelly sweets

Mangos

Parsnips, sweet corn

Soft drinks (Lucozade, sprite, energy drinks)

 

If your athlete does not eat enough carbohydrates before their game then they will not have the needed amount of energy to perform their best!