Golf fans are often fascinated with how many hours successful golfers practice each day, and how many times they play each week.
One thing that never seems to come up, however, is what champion golfers eat. Yet watch any PGA Tour event, and you’ll see these athletes sneaking specific foods at specific times during their rounds. They understand the importance of golf nutrition. Top level golfers know they need complex carbohydrates to keep their energy up and stay focused for matches that can last four hours or more. Protein and fat are also important to provide a slower release of energy.
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A combination of all three—carbohydrates, protein and fat—is what you should eat to maintain energy for a full round of golf. Eating right a few hours before and again during a round is important, but so is the night before. Focus on these key nutrients at all times to power yourself through the back nine.
The night before a match, try . . .
- Whole grain pasta with red sauce and grilled chicken or turkey
- Grilled/baked chicken or fish, sweet potato, whole grain brown rice, and broccoli or other green vegetable
- Lean steak, whole grain pasta, rice or quinoa and grilled vegetables
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Just before your round, go with . . .
If playing early in the day, try these options for breakfast:
- Eggs, whole grain toast with nut butter (almond, peanut, or cashew) and a piece of fruit
- Nut butter with jelly on whole grain bread and fruit
- Protein shake blended with one scoop of protein, ½ cup of dry oats and nut butter (if you don’t mind the taste, add a spoonful of extra virgin coconut oil)
- 1/2 to 1 cup of oatmeal with cinnamon and fruit
If playing after lunch, try these options:
- Turkey burger on whole grain bun with sweet potato fries or baked sweet potato
- Whole grain bread with nut butter and jelly and a piece of fruit
- Grilled chicken salad with a handful of almonds
- Whole grain pasta with red sauce and grilled chicken/turkey
During the round, try . . .
- Protein bars
- Handful of nuts
- Nut butter with jelly on whole grain bread at the turn
- Pre-made protein shake with nut butter and banana
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Try to eat your pre-round meal one and a half to two hours before you tee off. Eat your “during the round” snack whenever you feel a lack of focus or energy. Experiment with different options during practice before you use them in a big event.