Fuel Your Performance: Game-Day Meal Plan for Basketball Players
Basketball athletes know that their season is long and physically demanding. But many players don't know how to balance and time their meals throughout the day, particularly during a tournament weekend or a night game following a morning practice. (See Basketball Nutrition: Pre-, During and Post-Game Meal Strategies.)
Following a proper basketball nutrition plan preserves muscle, energy and strength vital for injury prevention and optimal performance. You probably understand the basics: jumpstarting your metabolism and fueling your muscles by always eating breakfast; and eating balanced meals every three to four hours throughout the day to maintain a stable supply of nutrients. But what's that look like? Get on track with this sample nutrition plan for a day with a morning shootaround and an evening game.
Breakfast (before morning practice)
Option One: large bowl of oatmeal, omelet made with one whole egg and two egg whites, scrambled with salsa, and a glass of orange juice.
Overslept and pressed for time? Try Option Two: toasted whole-wheat bagel with peanut butter, a piece of fruit, and low-fat yogurt.
One cup of trail mix or half a cup of almonds mixed with half a cup of dried fruit. (See Homemade Trail Mix: The Ideal Grab-N-Go Snack.)
Pre-Game Lunch (four hours prior to tip-off)
Foot-long sub sandwich on honey wheat with chicken breast, provolone or Swiss cheese, veggies and Italian dressing; sliced apples; large glass of water.
Pre-Game Snack (20 to 30 minutes prior to tip-off)
Peanut butter & jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread; Gatorade. (Read Hydrate Properly Before Basketball Games.)
During the Game
Stay hydrated. Sip a sports drinks and water during time-outs and breaks in play.
Post-Game Snack (to kick-start recovery)
Within thirty minutes after game, swig some low-fat chocolate milk and eat a banana.
Dinner (within one hour of game)
Whole-wheat spaghetti with marinara sauce and a lean protein source like turkey, chicken or lean ground meat; glass of water.