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Eat Smart: Choose Healthy Pre- and Post-game Meals (FN1438)

Have a light meal so it can be digested easily. The pregame meal should include a variety of foods but focus on carbohydrate rich food such as bread or pasta. Make sure to include grains, fruits and vegetables in the meal. Drink plenty of fluids.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Shannon Medenwald, Program Assistant (former)


My Plate

Why are basketball players sloppy eaters?

Because they’re always dribbling!

Keep yourself energized. Make sure to eat before and after exercise.

Eating a meal two to four hours before an event:

  • Fuels the muscles and body
  • Prevents hunger during exercise
  • Helps prevent injury related to dehydration or lack of energy
  • Helps kids continue to grow and develop

Fuel Up Before the Game

Have a light meal so it can be digested easily. The pregame meal should include a variety of foods but focus on carbohydrate-rich food such as bread or pasta. Make sure to include grains, fruits and vegetables in the meal. Drink plenty of fluids.

Example of a Pregame Meal:

  • Glass of skim milk
  • Small piece of baked chicken
  • Grapes
  • Two slices of bread with butter/margarine

(Approximately 500 calories)

What to Eat After the Game

What you eat after a game can affect your recovery. Drink plenty of fluids along with food after activity. Eating a post-game meal replenishes your glycogen and also rehydrates your muscles. (Glycogen is made up of glucose, which is used as energy in your body.) This is most effective within
four hours after an event.

Sample Menus — Post-game Meals:

  • Fruit such as bananas, oranges, apples, kiwi, individual servings of canned fruit, dried fruit and fruit juice
  • Protein foods such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, peanut butter sandwich or lean meat sandwich on whole-wheat bread with lettuce and tomato
  • Carbohydrate-rich foods such as breakfast cereal
  • Calcium-rich foods such as yogurt, fat-free milk and low-fat string cheese

PBJ Waffle Sandwiches

8 frozen waffles

4 Tbsp. jam

4 Tbsp. peanut butter 1 banana, sliced

1. Heat waffles as directed on package or substitute homemade waffles.

2. Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on four waffles and 1 tablespoon of jam on remaining four waffles.

3. Top each peanut butter waffle with banana slices. Cover with jam waffles; press lightly.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 390 calories, 60 grams (g) carbohydrate, 15 g fat, 5 g fiber and 514 milligrams sodium.

Eat Smart. Play Hard. This website has information for parents and kids, including fun educational games and recipes.

“Eat Smart. Play Hard.” is an initiative of the Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Materials were partially funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

 

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