High School athletes usually fly by their seat when it comes to nutrition. And yes, while most of them are getting enough nutrition here in the USA to avoid being malnourished, a better nutrition “plan” will take their game to the next level. Want to perform even better on game day? Want to have "good nutrition" instead of just "good enough nutrition"? Don’t worry, Sports Nutrition Coach Joey, CSNC, CSCS has your back! Let’s dig into a better nutrition strategy for a game day.
That big game day starts first thing in the morning, before you leave for school! Athletes need good carbohydrates and good protein sources first thing in the morning. Carbs and protein in the morning give your body glucose to fuel your brain for school and performance on the field later in the day. With steady levels of “fuel”, your body will maintain homeostasis, which means that all systems of your body will be working together correctly. Just some examples of this combination are: PB&J Sandwich, a protein smoothie with some fruit in it, overnight oats (made the night before and put in fridge from simple ingredients oats, fruit, “milk”, protein powder, nuts), hardboiled eggs and fruit, or low sugar and high protein yogurt with fruit on the side. And don't forget a large glass of water! Hydration in the morning is very important!
Lunch is more of the same, with some with good quality sources of carbohydrates and protein (and some good fats also). This can be; a bigger sandwich with a piece of fruit, or a salad with chicken or eggs on it with a piece of fruit. If you are lucky to have a hot school lunch, try to grab chicken, potatoes, and some fruit! Again, keep glucose running through your body so it can use it for fuel, your body’s most preferred fuel source!
Before the big game or practice we usually need another feeding or “snack”. This can be (depending on how much time before your game or practice) dried fruit and nuts, protein bar (get the ok by Coach Joey on these as most are just candy bars in disguise), beef/turkey jerky with some fruit, packed peanut butter sandwich with some fruit. Again, lots of liquid in the form of water, or milk. For some of the older athletes that already drink coffee, and since many go to the local coffee shops in between school and games, bring a scoop of protein powder and mix it into your coffee with a piece or two of fruit on the side. This is a great way to get your caffeine fix with some quality protein and carbs (not just carbs and sugar!).
With these nutritional strategies you'll know you (or your athlete) will perform at your best! Don’t forget after the game or practice you need nutrition to help recover for the next day’s practice or game also!
Joey Taraborelli, CSCS, CSNC