Game day is when it counts. You must be ready physically, mentally, and nutritionally for top performance. It is important to prepare by eating properly daily, but your game day eating can make or break your performance.
The goals of your pre-competition meal:
Provide adequate energy (carbohydrates are especially important)
Help avoid fatigue
Allow the stomach to feel relatively light at the start of the game, but avoid hunger pains
Minimize gastrointestinal distress
The timing of your pre-game meal should be based on the time of your game. If your game is in the:Morning -breakfast is your main source of fuel
Mid-afternoon- eat a substantial breakfast and lunch
Late-afternoon- eat breakfast, lunch, and a snack
Evening- Eat breakfast, lunch, and your pre-game meal as dinner
What should your pre-game meal include? Timing and the composition of the meal is critical. Eat a substantial meal 3-4 hours prior to the game that is high in carbohydrates, low to moderate in protein, and low in fat for the best digestion.
Loaded sugar foods, very high fiber food, gas formers like beans, and spicy foods should be avoid on game days.
An example of a pre-game breakfast:
Bowl of oatmeal w/ skim milk 2 pieces of toast with jam
1 cup of fruit
Other meal option:
1 oz of turkey breast
1 cup of low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup of raisins
Complete your pre-game plan with hydration. Be ready to win with proper training, rest, and nutrition. Be prepare to perform.
By Kathleen Pollard
*Reference: Williams, Melvin H. Nutrition for Health, Fitness, & Sport. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2007.