Pre-Game Meal

Pre-game meals and tournament fueling tables enhanced by high performance tips and tricks Sports Dietitian/Nutritionist Emily Edison, MS.RD.CSSD

The Night Before The Game-

For meals, the night before a game, provide a high carbohydrate meal, with lean protein and healthy fats. Timing is not crucial and fat and fiber are less of a concern because there is plenty of time for digestion.

The Day of The Game-

1.    Timing is everything.  Allow at least 3 hours for full digestion of a meal before the activity begins. If food is in your belly during your game, it’s in the wrong place. It needs to be digested and into your system for energy!

2.    Think low fat, low fiber.  Fat and fiber slow the digestion of food. Slow digestion is great for daily eating, but a pre-game meal needs to digest fairly quickly. Minimize heavier sauces (alfredo, ranch), and “pick a fat” when choosing sandwiches and salads (ie. Cheese or mayo or avocado or dressing but not ALL).

3.    High carbohydrate for energy. Despite all the hype around “low carbs”, carbohydrates (bread, grains, pasta, fruit, rice, dairy) reign as an athlete’s #1 source of energy.  High-intensity sports require fuel for working muscles and carbs provide this energy.

4.    Eat familiar foods.  The night before a big game is not the time to try out new or exotic foods. Stick to the basics.

5.    Consider a snack. If the time between meal and game is longer than 3 hours consider providing an easy-to-digest snack for just before the game or for halftime.  Chewy granola bars, fruit, fruit leather, pretzels, or energy bars are all options.

Read more about Menu Planning for Pre-During and Post Games.