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As a hockey player, you take the time to suit up, warm up and mentally prepare come game time. Although these are all important for performance, a healthy pre-game meal also plays a significant role in your success. You definitely want to have good fuel inside you to give yourself the energy and nutrients you need to excel on the ice.
With any pre-game meal for hockey players, the focus should be on quality nutrients. Try to eat two hours before the game; and avoid caffeine and sugary foods, which raise your blood sugar quickly but then drop it below normal levels, and foods high in fat, which slow digestion and stay in your stomach longer. Take your nutrition seriously and your performance will benefit.
Healthy meals come in many variations. Before games and practices, it's best to take in some protein but more carbohydrates, because they break down and are digested faster to provide energy. Meals high in protein should be consumed after activity, or earlier on game days, because they digest at a slower rate than carbohydrates. Great sources of complex carbohydrates and starches include whole grain pastas, rice, potatoes, starchy vegetables, whole grain breads and fruit.
Another critical pre-game factor is hydration. If you're not properly hydrated, you can fatigue faster, get muscle cramps and impair your performance.
The following healthy meal suggestions should help you prepare yourself for peak performance.
Before Early Games and Practices
Whole grain cereal, banana slices, low-fat or skim milk, fruit juice and water.
Turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with sliced tomatoes and lettuce, apple, low-fat or skim milk, tomato juice and water.
Spaghetti with tomato sauce, spinach salad with light dressing, orange juice, one slice of whole grain bread and water.
Before Games and Practices Late in the Day
Two eggs, two slices whole grain toast with jam, low-fat or skim milk, orange juice and water.
Bowl of chicken noodle soup, one sweet potato, whole grain crackers, apple juice and water.
One grilled chicken breast, one potato, one cup of peas & carrots, apple juice and water.
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