7 Tips for a Great Pre-game Meal

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Which Athlete are You?
The bell just rang and school is out! The game is 3 hours away and the coach dismissed the team to go get something to eat and be back in an hour.

Athlete #1
Goes to McDonalds, 2 double cheeseburgers, large fries and large coke

Athlete #2
Two turkey sandwiches, fruit, and a low calorie drink from home

Take this Test

Athlete #1  or Athlete #2  will experience the following?

  • Will have significantly more energy in the second half of the game? 
    • Answer: Athlete #2
  • Will have large amounts of fat in their digestive system during the game?
    • Answer: Athlete #1
  • Will be dehydrated and sluggish?
    • Answer: Athlete #1
  • Will likely get abdominal cramps before, during or after the game?
    • Answer: Athlete #1
  • Will recover quicker the next day from muscle fatigue?
    • Answer: Athlete #2
  • Will spend more money?
    • Answer: Athlete #1
  • Will have planned poorly and have no real sports nutrition goals?
    • Answer: Athlete #1

7 Tips for a Great Pre-Game Meal 

#1 Stick to What You Know Works
Do not try to experiment with new foods on game day. You can be unsure how your stomach will react to the new foods. Some may cause cramping or excessive gas which can ultimately mess with your performances. The days to experiment with these are on practice days.

#2 Avoid Soft Drinks and Candy
Sugar is your enemy, empty calories that do not provide a long term fuel source. Sugar crashes are a real thing and can occur during games if soft drinks and candies are consumed before game time. Also, sugar can sometimes cause a build up of gas within the digestive tract and can result in cramping. To avoid this, avoid the sweet candies and soft drinks.

#3 High Carbohydrates
You can never go wrong with breads, pasta, and rice because they are pure long lasting energy sources. Carbohydrates are our body’s main fuel source. During high intense games, our bodies need this fuel source to keep it going strong the whole time.

#4 Timing
It takes about 3-4 hours for your stomach to empty of quality food. Therefore, if consuming large meals, it is important to do so 4 hours before game time. Consuming smaller meals and snacks 1 hour before game time can also be beneficial.

#5 Fluids
Consume plenty of water and sports drinks before, during, and after game time. However, not all fluids are equal. Stay away from carbonated sugary soft drinks as they can cause stomach cramps and upset your stomach. Set yourself up for success, come to the field fully hydrated with drinking water throughout the day before and the morning of. Sports drinks can be beneficial to drink during game time to replace electrolytes, carbohydrates, and fluids that are lost.

#6 Avoid High Fat Intake
Fat takes longer to digest than carbohydrates. Therefore, if you consume fats right before exercise, it is likely that they will not be broken down fast enough for energy. Because these fats sit in your stomach longer, they can also trigger digestive distress and create the feelings of sluggishness. This ultimately can decrease your performance. 

#7 Limit Protein Intake
Protein is a weak energy source, however it is great for building muscles. Consuming small amounts prior to game time can aid the recovery process after performances are over. However, you do not want to over indulge in these nutrients because it will limit the carbohydrates that are needed to properly fuel your body for game time.  

Resources and Links

Download Eat 2 Win Nutrition App