When and what you eat before a sporting event can be just as strategic as your team’s game plan. We all know that it’s important to have the right nutrition before a game so you don’t run out of energy. But you also don’t want to eat the wrong food that could make your stomach upset. So what and when should you eat?
According to Nancy Brinch, MS, RD, LSW at Richard Stockton College, there is no magical meal that will work for all athletes. So you have to learn what to eat through trial and error. Everyone agrees that eating lot’s of carbs will help keep your energy up, but it’s more than eating carbs before a game. Here are Brinch’s suggestions:
- Eat adequate carbohydrate in the days leading up to competition. For example: Bread, Bagels, Fruit, Juice, Skim or 1% milk, Low-fat Yogurt, Pasta, Potatoes, Rice, Cereal, Crackers, Fig Newtons
- 4 hours or more before an event: The night before an event eat a high-carbohydrate meal and drink lots of water. Four hours or more before the event try these suggestions.
1. turkey sandwich and fruit
2. grilled chicken, potato and vegetable
3. scrambled eggs, toast, and juice
4. spaghetti and meat sauce
- 2 hours before an event: A light (200- 400 calories) carbohydrate meal is easily digested and provides glucose for exercising muscles. Drink plenty of water.
1. Cereal and skim or 1% milk
3. Energy bar
4. Large banana and yogurt
- 1 hour or less before an event:
1. Sports drink
Everyone would agree that you should always drink plenty of fluids before, during and after a sporting event. If it’s hard for you to eat too much before a game, you want to make sure you have something in your stomach. So Brinch suggests making a yogurt smoothie.
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 small banana
½ cup frozen berries
What should you avoid? Yes the meals that you suspect! Avoid high-fat meals including fast food and other convenience food. Also avoid carbonated drinks and juices. These foods and drinks will leave you feeling full and make your stomach upset.
Try some of these suggestions and see if it helps your performance. These are good recommendations for when you are about to workout or even be a spectator at a sporting event. Hunger never helps anyone! Also remember to keep good snacks on hand during these events. Read more on healthy snacks for sporting events!