Put Together a Perfect Gameday Meal | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Put Together a Perfect Gameday Meal

May 1, 2012 | Featured in the Spring 2012 Issue

Candace Parker uses her impressive athleticism to overmatch her WNBA opponents and power her scoring touch. Parker's game requires high levels of energy, which she supplies with a favorite pre-game meal that fuels her for competition.

According to Kim White, Gatorade Sports Science Institute senior scientist, a pre-game meal is essential for providing your body with the energy it needs to perform. Since energy is the main goal, it should contain 100 to 300 grams of carbohydrates.

Parker's go-to pre-game meal fits the bill perfectly, since it's loaded with carb-rich pasta. "My favorite pre-game meal is my mom's lasagna," Parker says. "It's made with beef, spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese." Parker adds a salad for an extra dose of performance-enhancing vitamins and minerals.

Make sure to consume your own pre-game meal about three to four hours before a workout or game
to give your body plenty of time to digest it. "You need to listen to your stomach," says White. If you feel too full after eating, adjust your intake accordingly.

Try this energy-rich meal, inspired by Parker's favorite pre-game spread, to help you produce on the court.

Three to four hours before...

Low-Fat Lasagna With Meat and Sauce (10 ounces)

A carb-rich meal to service the high level of energy you need for an intense workout or long game. Use low-fat cheese to keep fat content to a minimum.
Calories: 286
Fat: 6g
Carbs: 38g
Protein: 19g

Mixed Green Salad With Tomato, Cucumber, Croutons and Kraft Light Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing

The veggies are an additional source of energy that provides vitamins and minerals, essential for maintaining performance and recovering from exercise.
Calories: 243
Fat: 6g
Carbs: 40g
Protein: 7g

Whole Wheat Roll

Calories: 125
Fat: 1g
Carbs: 35g
Protein: 0g

Meal Totals
Calories: 654
Fat: 13g
Carbs: 113g
Protein: 26g

15 minutes before...

G Series 01 Prime Energy Chews

Make sure to fuel up properly before your next game or workout to get off to a strong start. New G Series Prime Energy Chews from Gatorade make taking in carbs easier (and tastier) than ever. Available in orange, fruit punch or cool blue flavors, each serving of six chews contains 25 grams of carbs and 100 calories. Pop them before training or competition and you'll be ready to roll when it's time to shine. Under $2 for a package of six at Gatorade.com

Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is an Associate Content Director at STACK Media. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is an Associate Content Director at STACK Media. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

The 7 Best Nuts for Your Health and Performance

Nuts are bite sized powerhouses loaded with healthy fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals to keep every athlete well fueled. These concentrated sources...

How Fatty Is Your Thanksgiving?

How the Glycemic Index Can Help Your Athletic Performance

Avoid Pigging Out: How to Conquer Food Cravings

Low Workout Stamina? Your Diet May Be the Culprit

We Tried Cricket Protein Bars. Should You?

Build Muscle With This Diet for Young Athletes

What You Need to Know About Protein

3 Tips to Eat Healthy on a Budget

How to Turn Nutrition Goals Into Actions

Make Rotisserie Chicken Better With 2 Simple No-Cook Recipes

Should Athletes Follow a Pescetarian Diet?

Russell Wilson Wants You to 'Eat the Ball'

What Else Are You Drinking? The Truth About BPA Dangers

The Nutrition That Powers Joe Thomas's Iron-Man Streak

Study Ranks Paleo As Second-Worst Diet

Pre-Game Nutrition: What to Eat Before You Compete

Cheerios With Quinoa: Coming Soon to a Grocery Store Near You

6 Fruits and Veggies You Aren't Eating But Should Be

6 Ways to Power Up Your Oatmeal

5 Basketball Pre-Game Snacks for Full-Game Energy

The 5 Foods That Will Rule 2015

A Healthier Milk, Brought to You By Coca-Cola. Wait, What?

Do You Need Protein Immediately After Your Workout?

The Skinny on Good Fat vs. Bad Fat

Post-Holiday Chocolate Health Benefits

Protein Powder Potato Chips? ProTings, Reviewed

LeBron Cuts Carbs This Summer. Should You?

Why Can't I Stop Gaining Weight?

5 Drinks You Had No Idea Were As Bad As (or Worse Than) Soda

Coconut Sugar: What Is It, and Is It Good for You?

Building a Healthy Pizza: Tips and Recipes

Macronutrients, Part I: Carbohydrates

Eat Like a Champion, Part 2: How to Lose Fat Safely

An Athlete's Guide to Calcium

Got (Almond) Milk? How 6 Popular Milk Alternatives Measure Up

The Food Rules for Building Muscle

Eat Like a Champion, Part 1: How to Build Muscle in the Kitchen

4 Common Nutrition Questions Answered

7 Pro Athletes Who Succeed Despite Having Horrible Diets

3 Nutrition Hacks to Improve Your Sports Performance

Is All Sugar Bad for You?

What You Need to Know about Fats

The Meal Plan That Helped Shea McClellin Add 11 Pounds of Muscle