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Pre-and Postgame Meal Suggestions
This information is excerpted from Play Hard, Eat Right – A Parent’s Guide to Sports
Nutrition for Children

At tournaments, avoid high-fat and high-protein foods take longer to digest than carbohydrates (and can result in indigestion, nausea and possibly vomiting). Eating sugary foods like candy and honey right before a game does not provide quick energy. To avoid playing with a full stomach, athletes should eat 1-3 hours before the game.

If you need something prior to game, try these suggestions:

  • 1-2 hours before game: 100% fruit or vegetable juice, fresh fruit (such as plums, melon, cherries or peaches),Cereal/granola bar, pretzels, toast, Graham crackers, sports drinks, water

  • 2-3 hours before game: 100% fruit or vegetable juice, fresh fruit, breads or bagels, plain English muffins, Low fiber cereal and nonfat milk, nonfat fruit flavored yogurt, waffles/pancakes, pretzels

  • 3+ hours before game: fruit or vegetable juice, fresh fruit, breads or bagels, plain English muffins, peanut butter, low-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt, plain baked potato, cereal with low-fat milk, pasta with tomato sauce, Lean turkey sandwiches, skinless grilled chicken, chicken stir-fry, Minestrone soup, rice bowl with tofu and vegetables

Timing Meals Before Games

8 a.m. Game

Night before: eat a high carbohydrate dinner and drink extra water.

Day of: around 6 a.m., eat a light 200-400 calorie meal, such as a banana and yogurt or a sports bar. Drink extra water. (If you want a bigger meal, get up at 5 a.m.)

10 a.m. Game

Night before: eat a high carbohydrate meal and drink extra water

Morning of: eat a familiar breakfast by 7 a.m.; this will prevent fatigue resulting from low blood sugars. Pack an extra bagel or banana to snack on about an hour before the game.

1:30 p.m. Game

After earlier games: drink plenty of water and juice and get a substantial meal. Good suggestions include sub sandwiches (careful on the dressings), Arby’s roast beef sandwiches (forget the cheese), Taco Time/Taco Bell plain bean burritos, pasta, plain baked potato. Stay away from hamburgers, hotdogs, milkshakes, ice cream – or you’ll be sluggish for afternoon games. Frozen yogurt or juice bars are good alternatives if you want something cool and sweet.


Don’t count on being able to find healthy snacks at tournaments, so pack appropriate snacks to eat before, during and after the event – such as fresh fruit, bagels or English muffins, pretzels, fruit juice and always keep plenty of water handy.

If you have to do fast food, these are the better alternatives: thick crust veggie pizza, salad, sub sandwiches with lean meats and easy on the condiments, baked potatoes, pasta with tomato sauce, muffins, grilled chicken sandwiches (minus the special sauce).

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