Creating a diet plan or nutritional program for a hockey player is an intricate and specific undertaking. Each player is different—he may sleep different, use different energy systems, and have a totally different body composition than his teammates.
So, what is the best meal plan for a hockey player? The foundation for optimal nutrition for hockey starts with a carbohydrate base. (Check out Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith’s nutrition plan.)
This is not to say that hockey players don’t need protein. However, your protein intake depends on whether your goal is to maintain weight, burn fat or gain muscle. (Determine individual needs with Protein and Your Diet.)
If you’re working to build muscle, you should be consuming at least one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight each day while maintaining a low level of fat intake in order to stay lean and function at peak performance.
Second, you must increase your complex carbohydrate intake to include whole grains and low glycemic sugars such as bulgar wheat and steel cut oats. Lentils are another great source of complex carbohydrates.
Other nutritional guidelines:
- Eliminate “white” and “enriched” food products from your diet.
- Opt for salmon, chicken breast, turkey and other lean, low-fat protein sources.
- Limit your protein intake to 20-30 grams per meal.
- Consume leafy green vegetables to provide your body with nutrients to replenish electrolytes, strengthen bones and shuttle off lactic acid, the chemical compound that makes you sore after an intense skate.
- Limit your fruit intake to berries, oranges and bananas.
- Supplement your fruit smoothies with kale, which is a high source of beta-carotene, vitamin C and calcium.
- Take vitamin C tabs to avoid illness.