#130 Athlete Tip: What To Eat Before & After Games To Play Your Best!

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Are you an athlete who wants to feel good while you compete? Are you curious about what foods you can eat before and after games to fuel your body so you can perform your best?

If this is you, then we have a great Athlete Tip episode for you! One of the most common questions we get is, “what should I eat before I compete so I can play my best?”

That’s why in today’s episode, we’re joined by Amy Dirks, a registered sports dietician, who is sharing with us everything we need to know about fueling our bodies so we can feel our best and compete at our highest levels.

How Should You Fuel Up Before The Game?

  • Typically, the largest meal you should be having before a sports event should be about 4 hours before the event. 
  • However, if your event is an early morning event, fueling up might look a little different than 4 hours before. In this case, you want to make sure you get something in the tank to fuel yourself.

Build Your Performance Plate:

  • 4 hours prior to your game or competition, you’ll want to build your performance plate.
  • To build your performance plate:
    • First, divide your plate in half. Fill the first half of the plate with your favorite vegetables.
    • Next, take the second half of the plate and divide it in half again. 
    • The first fourth of the plate you’ll fill with a lean protein source.
      • As a note, you want to avoid beef before a game if you can. Because beef takes a long time for your body to digest, you want to save beef for a recovery meal or a meal for an off day. 
    • Lastly, you’ll fill the last fourth of the plate with a starchier type of carbohydrate, such as rice, sweet potato, etc.
  • Now, you’re not as confined as you might think! If it’s the morning time, you don’t have to fill your performance plate with only breakfast foods.
    • You can eat whatever works for your body at whatever time, as long as you’re providing the components that your body needs!

What About Right Before, Or Between A Game?

  • You can certainly grab a snack before you play if that’s helpful to you, an hour or 30 minutes prior, but nothing heavy.
    • Snacks such as some trail mix, grapes, a handful of nuts, a piece of turkey, an apple with almond butter, etc. 
  • If your sport includes a halftime, you can reload at that time if needed.
    • Some good mid-game snacks are orange slices, grapes, an applesauce packet, half of a fruit bar, figs, dates, etc.

A Few Things To Note:

  • Never eat “new to you” food, or intake a new supplement that you’ve never had before prior to game day. You don’t want to experiment right before you’re about to compete!
  • Be careful with convenient snack foods. Be sure to look at what the ingredients are.
    • Pre-game foods and snacks shouldn’t include a lot of bad fats like trans fats, bad oils like canola oil or vegetable oil, or artificial ingredients.
    • A good rule of thumb is to make sure that you can pronounce the ingredients on the label, and know what those ingredients are. If you can’t pronounce it or you don’t know what it is, it’s probably not the best to consume!

Alright athletes, I hope those tips were helpful to you, and something that you can use right away! Remember that these athlete tips are for YOU. To help you level up, play with confidence, and compete to your potential. See you next time!


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