Healthy Snacks for Tidewater Sharks Players
To get the best health and athletic performance, it is important for our players to eat well-balanced meals and snacks and drink plenty of liquids. Good nutrition provides fuel for the body to grow and perform, and also helps your body heal faster after injury; and drinking a lot of fluids, especially plain water, is very important for preventing dehydration resulting in multiple dangers of losing too much water from your body.
Dinner night before: Meal with high complex carbohydrates will break down slower and the energy will be stored to be used later. (i.e. Pasta/rice, dinner rolls, salad/veggies, potatoes, lasagna, baked beans, milk, lentils, fluids)
Breakfast 2-4 hours before game: Cereal, oatmeal, banana, toast with jelly, yogurt, fruit, 100% juice, fruit bars, Fig Newton’s, dried fruit, fluids, applesauce, pancakes, waffles, English muffins, grits, cream of wheat (AVOID: Eggs, bacon, sausage = these are high in fat/protein and take too long to digest)
Pre-practice/pre-game snacks — To fuel your body for energy, eat foods that include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and a little protein, but that are low in sugar and fat to prevent stomach bloating and cramping.
Some suggestions are:
- Sandwich with whole grain bread, chicken, turkey or tuna
- Bagel with peanut butter (or other nut butter) and honey
- Low fat yogurt or string cheese
- Fresh fruit or veggies
- Pretzels with honey dipping sauce or peanut butter crackers
Mid-game/half time snacks — Avoid high sugar snacks that might give you a burst of energy but then, just as quickly, leave you feeling tired and weak; and salty snacks can lead to loss of body fluid. Good choices include:
Bananas, grapes, berries, melon chunks, apple/pear wedges.
Lunch: It is always a good idea to pack lunch for your soccer player. The local restaurants will normally be pretty busy between games, and the food choices may be limited.
- Avoid: Steak, French fries, hamburgers, hot dogs, nuts, gravy, sauces, potato chips, tacos, nachos, salami, chocolate = these are high in fat/protein and take too long to digest
- Avoid: Candy bars, desserts, soda = high sugar foods cause a rapid rise and fall in blood sugars. This causes the fluids to draw into the GI tract and can lead to dehydration, cramping, nausea.
- Lunch day of game with MORE than 3-4 hours between games: Sandwich with 1-2 oz of meat, 1 oz of cheese, 1 piece of lettuce, 1 tomato slice, milk, soup, bagels, 100% juice, water, fruit bars, Fig Newtons, raisins, fruit, cheese and crackers, pretzels, saltines, cheese pizza, fluids
- Lunch meals with LESS than 3-4 hours between games: Low sugar foods are important. Carbs with protein and fluids/sports drink. Low fiber or gassy foods. (i.e. PB and J sandwiches, peanut butter on a bagel, lean meat sandwiches, pasta with veggies, baked potato, yogurt with fruit and healthy cereal)
Post-game — After a game or tournament day, eat a snack or meal that is a balance of lean protein, carbs, and fat since your body will be rebuilding muscle tissue and restocking energy and fluids for up to 24 hours after the competition:
- Fresh or dried fruit
- Fresh veggies (e.g. carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumber slices) with hummus
- Nuts or homemade trail mix of favorite nuts and dried fruits
- Pretzels or plain popcorn, baked chips with avocado guacamole
- PB&J, chicken, turkey or tuna on whole wheat bread or bagel
- String cheese, chocolate milk, or low fat yogurt, hard-boiled eggs and crackers
- Oatmeal cookies, fig bars or low-fat, low sugar granola bars
- Baked potatoes, pizza, peanut butter, breads, pasta
By following these suggestions, Tidewater Sharks’ players will help themselves become healthier and stronger competitors. If you eat well, you will compete well.