Don’t slow your body down during your halftime break. Before heading back to action, feed on this advice from Olympic sport dietitian Bob Seebohar.
STACK: What is a popular halftime food?
Bob Seebohar: I grew up playing soccer; and at halftimes, [we’d] always have oranges and water. Fruit has a lot of fructose, a sugar found in fruits. A lot of fructose slows digestion from the stomach, which means athletes will come out [in the second half] a little bit slower and less energetic. They think the oranges are doing them great, but in fact, it’s quite the opposite.
STACK: What foods should athletes consume instead?
BS: The halftime foods you [should] focus on are fast carbohydrates, water and then salt. A great halftime snack is something like a pretzel and sport drink. You should stay away from juice, because it has a lot of fructose. Sport drinks are decent. [They contain] the right sugar—meaning it’s going to get out of your stomach quickly and not sit there, causing digestive issues.
I try [to] promote more grain-based halftime foods and snacks, [including] pretzels. Whole-grain saltines work great with water, because they are very salty, and [they] give you carbohydrates. Unfortunately, we don’t think about that, because typically [a] refreshing halftime food is fruit. You can have a little bit—maybe one orange slice—but [athletes] nowadays go through five or six at halftime. No wonder they come out in the second half not feeling good.
STACK: Why is salt important?
BS: Think of salt as a sponge [for] your body. Salt actually absorbs the water you’re consuming. Sport drinks [are] very crucial, because the more fluid you can absorb and keep in your body, the better you’re going to stay hydrated.