Practice Days

Unlike professional football players who practice during the day, younger athletes don't take the field or hit the gym until after school. Since bodies don't run well on empty, eating every 3 to 4 hours is necessary to properly fuel both the body and mind. Encourage your athletes to:

  • Eat within 1 hour of waking up.
  • Eat something at lunch.
  • Snack before practice on a sports drink, energy bar, cereal or granola bar.
  • Bring a post-exercise snack to eat before leaving the locker room. Good choices include an energy bar, bagel, crackers or fruit with a sports drink.

 

Pre-Game Meals

The primary goal for providing athletes with a pre-game meal is to fuel the body for competition. The best strategy is to choose lower-fat foods. Fats take longer to digest, so high-fat meals can leave the athlete with a full, heavy stomach and not enough energy to perform at his best. When planning a pre-game meal early in the day try to avoid foods such as, fried meats, fried potatoes, bacon, and sausage. Instead, choose foods that favor leaner protein and carbohydrates such as bread, cereal, and toast. For afternoon/evening games choose grilled, baked, or broiled meats, tomato instead of cream sauce, low-fat milk, and baked or broiled, instead of fried, potatoes.

Additional food options for pre-game meals include:

  • Turkey or ham subs, fruit salad, and frozen yogurt
  • Eggs, waffles, ham, fruit
  • Pasta with red meat sauce, grilled chicken, salad and fruit
  • Smoothie, cereal, fruit
  • 8-ounce cuts of steak with carbohydrates on the side.
  •  For beverages: sports drinks, juices, and water.

Post-Game Meals

Before you sit down for a meal, you should begin by replenishing your fluids and carbohydrates immediately following the game/lifting … sports drinks, pretzels, sports bars (containing the proper nutritional ratio), or fruit. For optimal recovery after competition/practice or lifting, you need to consume a protein-carbohydrate mix. The snack should contain 6 grams of protein and 35 grams of carbohydrates. Suggestions include peanut butter crackers, trail mix, yogurt with cereal, a bagel with cream cheese or peanut butter, or a sports bar containing the right proportion. This snack should be consumed within 30 minutes after competition, practice or lifting for optimal benefit.

This is usually the hungriest time for the players, so if you are ready for a full meal, some good choices include:

  • Steak kebabs, rice
  • Salmon, green beans, and corn
  • Roast beef, mashed potatoes and salad
  • Hamburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, baked potato and juice

When it comes to weight loss or weight gain, you must do it in small increments. In order to add Lean Muscle Mass and discard Fat Mass you must combine a proper nutritional plan and strength training program. By adding or subtracting the extra 500 to 1000 calories you are allowing your body to change its composition.

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