Post by Rachel Fowler, MS, RD, LD on Jun 2, 2005 6:26:38 GMT -6
Great question! Good pre-game nutrition will assure the players can perform at their best. The goals of the pre-game meal are to give the players' muscles the energy they need while competing, to make sure they aren't hungry during the game, and to prevent dehydration. You don't want to be exercising with a stomach and intestines full of food so timing is important- a pre-game meal should be consumed about 3 hours before the start. The meal should be high in complex carbohydrate (bread, cereal, rice, pasta)- too much protein can cause dehydration and too much sugar may result in hunger during the game.
An example of a good pregame breakfast would be cereal with skim milk, buttered or cheese toast, a banana and 2 glasses of fluid (water, juice..). For lunch I would recommend a small serving of meat or poultry (2 oz), skim milk, an orange or cut melon, pasta, cooked carrots, cookies and 2 cups of fluid.
The amount of food needed will depend on the person's size. If solid food is difficult due to a nervous stomach or time contraints- a liquid meal can substitute. You can use a commercial "instant breakfast" or meal in a can such as Boost or make your own milk or soy milk based shake with blended fruit.
Be sure your athletes are drinking plenty a fluid every day, especially in hot weather. Water or diluted juice or diluted sports drinks should be available before, during and after the game.