Pregame Eats, Postgame Chow
Pregame Eats: Fuel for the Win
Nutrition is an important aspect of athletic performance as it provides the source of fuel for the body prior to activity and helps maintain energy levels throughout the contest.
Elizabeth Norman, CHI Health certified athletic trainer, said examples of a good pregame meal (three to four hours prior to game time) include:
- Whole grain cereal with nonfat (or low-fat) milk and a piece of fruit
- Whole wheat toast with a small amount of nut butter and/or jam
- Whole wheat pasta, vegetables and a lean meat sauce
- Ham sandwich with a glass of 100 percent fruit juice or nonfat milk
- String cheese, whole grain crackers and grapes
Examples of snacks to be consumed 30 to 60 minutes prior to activity start time include:
- Fruit, applesauce or fruit snacks
- Small granola bar, pretzels or graham crackers
- Sports drink
Postgame Chow: Replenish Your Engine
When it comes to postgame meals, an athlete’s focus should be on consuming proteins and carbohydrates.
“The main thing is to have a well-balanced meal,” said Todd Goshorn, a certified athletic trainer for Grand Island Physical Therapy in partnership with CHI Health. “In this day and age, it’s sometimes difficult to sit down and have a full-fledged meal, but we try to steer kids away from relying on fast food as their main fuel for energy and recovery.”
Goshorn said protein drinks have their place, but should be used as a supplement – not a meal substitute.
Post-competition hydration is also important. Athletes can weigh themselves before and after activity and, for every pound lost, Goshorn said they should rehydrate with 16 to 24 fluid ounces, using a one-to-one combination of water and sports drinks.