Training camp and two-a-days have already started for most high school football players. Whether you are battling for a roster spot or a starting assignment, a key to improving your performance and getting noticed on the practice field is eating nutritious, healthy meals.
Leslie Bonci, R.D., director of sports nutrition at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine and a nutrition consultant to the Pittsburgh Steelers, has a few tips to help players get a handle on their eating habits.
One Hour Before Training
Consume 20 ounces of a sports drink, such as Gatorade, or water with a small amount of carbohydrate, such as a handful of pretzels, cereal or a granola bar. Take in some protein, as well. Some good options are a quarter cup of nuts, a few pieces of jerky, an eight-ounce cup of low-fat yogurt or 12 ounces of low-fat chocolate milk.
Drink enough fluids to replace the sweat you are losing. This helps the body recover from tough workouts.
15 Minutes After Training
For every pound lost during practice, drink 24 ounces of water. Consuming salty foods post-workout can help replace lost electrolytes. Top salty choices: a sports nutrition bar, a few pieces of jerky, a handful of pretzels, a peanut butter sandwich or two large handfuls of trail mix.
Organize Your Food
Break your plate into thirds (think of a peace sign). Place a protein in one third, a starch (rice, pasta, potato) in the second, and a fruit and/or vegetable in the third.
Consume Enough Protein
To get an idea of the number of grams of protein your body needs, use this formula:
Minimum grams: 0.6 x body weight [pounds]
Maximum grams: 0.9 x body weight [pounds]
Shoot for somewhere in the middle. Some healthy options are eggs, beans, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, fish/shellfish, tofu, low-fat milk, yogurt and low-fat cheeses.