Pre-Game Foods

Alexis Hansen, Staff Writer

From the time we were little playing soccer at the county rec center we’ve known the snacks to be one of the best parts of the game. We used to eat Double Stuffed Oreos and Little Debbie Donuts like a champ; we also never forgot to wash it down with a Sunny D. Sadly, that’s all over now. Starting back in middle school the coach set aside the junk food and moved us all towards a more healthy alternative. Now that we’re playing harder than ever before, proper nutrition is what is keeping us going throughout the entire game.

It’s always best to eat meals rich in complex carbohydrates an hour or two before that basketball game starts. Before you exclaim, “Carbs aren’t good for you, ya weirdo!” know that this is actually a misconception about carbohydrates. There are bad carbohydrates but complex carbs consistently give the player a boost of energy during the game. According to Dr. William Sears, a practicing pediatrician, carbohydrates “should be 70 percent of caloric intake for up to three days prior to an event.” He goes on to say that things like pasta, cereal, vegetables, peanut butter and bread are the perfect amount of fuel for that pre-game hype.

There are a lot of foods that players should restrict themselves from. Jordan Metzl, MD, sports medicine physician at New York City’s Hospital recommends that athletes need to avoid eating proteins, fats, and fibers before the game. These things take longer to digest and, therefore, slow us down. You don’t want it negatively impacting your performance, so stick to the foods that will give the most energy. Also, just remember that even though you might be eating the right foods, it doesn’t mean that you’re eating them at the right time. Weird, huh? Central Washington University did a study on when the best times to eat were for a big game. Here are their results summed up:

8 am event – Eat a high carbohydrate dinner and drink extra water. Eat a 200 – 400 calorie

breakfast at 6 – 6:30 am that consists of yogurt, a banana, etc.

10 am event – Eat a high carbohydrate dinner and drink extra water. Eat a familiar

breakfast by 7 am.

2 pm event – Eat a high carbohydrate dinner with a light lunch or combine it into a big

brunch by 10 am. Drink water during the day up until noon.

8 pm event – Eat a high carbohydrate breakfast and lunch. Eat dinner by 5 pm or a lighter

meal by 6 – 7 pm. Drink water all day long.

All day event – 2 days before the event, cut back exercise to rest your body. Rest

completely the day before. Eat a high carbohydrate breakfast, lunch, and

dinner. On the day of the event, eat a familiar breakfast and snack every

1½ to 2 hours on carbohydrates. Eat lunch if you can and make sure to

drink water before you’re thirsty.

I’m not trying to you to never ever eat a donut ever again. If you’re an athlete, whether you’re playing on a Bingham team or not, you should take all things in your diet into consideration. It really is true that what you eat really makes or breaks what you are. Your team’s pre-game dinner doesn’t have to be all about pasta. You should eat what gives you the most energy so that your team will come out in the end feeling good about their efforts.