Meal Guidelines for Peak Performance in Hockey

November 13, 2012

Must See Hockey Videos

Hockey athletes: forget about what people are saying about popular fad diets. During hockey season, you shouldn't even consider a low-carb or Paleo style of eating. But this isn't a free pass to the fast food drive-thru window on game day either.

Elite hockey players practice and play five or more times a week, often with additional gym sessions. Such heavy physical demands make consuming carbohydrates a requirement in order to recover and achieve peak performance.

So what should a hockey player's meals look like? They should consist of a balanced blend of protein, carbohydrates and fat throughout the day, with an emphasis on carbs around practices and games. Follow these meal guidelines and see how much more energized you are on the ice.

7 a.m. Practice

Get up early so you can eat a balanced meal at least an hour beforehand. I know this is a tight time frame, so try blending a shake consisting of:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 or 2 scoops protein powder, or 2 egg whites
  • Nut butter for taste and steady release of energy

I advise against eating fruits pre-workout; they don't provide the same sustained effects as fibrous carbs like oats and quinoa. Exceptions include berries and bananas, but I prefer to save fruits for post-workout. (Want more healthy pre-activity shake ideas? Check out 3 Smoothie Recipes to Meet Your Nutrition Needs.)

If Practice Lasts Well Over an Hour

To prevent catabolism (i.e., destructive metabolism) and to stay fueled for the work at hand, mix some Gatorade in with your water during the latter stages of long practice sessions. (See Drinking for Sport Performance.)

After Practice

Have a protein shake ready, and refuel with some fast-digesting carbs like fruit. The goal is to get your tired muscles recovering as quickly as possible so they'll be ready for game action. If your carb source is Lucky Charms or Fruity Pebbles, so be it. As long as your food source is low in fat (like most breakfast cereals), the difference is negligible and recovery will happen just the same. (KISS Your Way to a Perfect Post-Workout Meal.)

Between Practices and Games 

Pair a protein source with an equal amount of carbs. For portion sizes, a good guideline is the size of your palm for each. Add a little fat (approximately a teaspoon)—e.g., extra virgin coconut oil—to sustain the release of energy until your next meal.

Mitch Calvert
- Mitch Calvert, born and raised in Canada, chose a life of health and fitness eight years ago, transforming himself from a severely overweight teenager to...
Mitch Calvert
- Mitch Calvert, born and raised in Canada, chose a life of health and fitness eight years ago, transforming himself from a severely overweight teenager to...

Featured Videos

Path to the Pros 2015: Devin Smith Path to the Pros 2015: Devin Smith Views: 179,065
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 75,992
Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Views: 588,674
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,252,646
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,192
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,172
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,920,872
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,117,437

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

The Boston Cannons' ‘Keep It Real’ Eating Plan

The Boston Cannons' 'Keep It Real' Eating Plan

How to Eat Healthy at a Dingy Sports Bar

How to Eat Healthy at a Dingy Sports Bar

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

What to Eat If You Hate Bananas

What to Eat If You Hate Bananas

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

9 Foods to Eat When You Want to Lose Fat

9 Foods to Eat When You Want to Lose Fat

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Binge Eating Disorder and Athletes

Binge Eating Disorder and Athletes

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

Registered Dietitians Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Eat Fruit

Registered Dietitians Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Eat Fruit

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

YardBarker