The purpose of the pre-competition meal is not to supply extra energy, but to keep the player from feeling hungry before and during the game. The last meal prior to the competition should do the following for the athlete:
- provide an adequate
amount of water for the body.
- assist in avoiding hunger pains during the competition.
- allow the stomach to be empty at the start of competition - be easily digestible.
- be high in carbohydrates and low in sugars, fats, and protein.
The meal should be scheduled two to three hours prior to warm-up. The closer you schedule the meal to the time you get on the field, the less and lighter you should eat. Avoid or keep to very small amounts of the following in your last meal:
- hamburger, sausage,
luncheon meat, peanut butter
- doughnuts, chips, french fries, fried fish and chicken
- mayonnaise and salad dressings
These foods contain very high fat, salt and / or sugar content and are not easily digested. Good examples of high carbohydrate foods for your last meal include:
- skim milk, puddings, low-fat yogurt
- bananas, grapes, peaches, raisins
- pasta, rice, wholewheat / white bread, crackers
- potatoes, carrots, corn, peas
Prior to the day of the competition, ensure that your last meal prior to sleeping is a good meal. Consume plenty of fluids. If travelling is involved, especially flying, be sure to snack sensibly and have plenty of fluid available. Follow pre-competition guidelines for meals in between games and continue to replace lost fluids. To ensure that the body is well fueled for the next day's performance, especially at tournaments, dinner must be eaten after the first days of competition.
The most important thing to remember about water is that it cools your body. If you start any physical activity without having adequate water in your system, you must replace fluid lost as a result of sweating. Dehydration may occur after losing only a few pounds of weight. You can easily avoid dehydration by considering these points around game time:
|- drink plenty of water and fluids two to three days
prior to the game.
- to allow the bladder to empty, do not drink 1 to 1.5 hours prior to the event.
- fifteen minutes prior to kick-off, drink 1 - 2 cups of water for hydration.
- drink plenty of cool, plain water during and after competition. One half cup for every 15 minutes of activity is a good guideline to follow (for example, a 90 minute soccer game would require 3 cups of water).
- do not rely on thirst alone as your guide - for every pound you lose, you need to drink two cups of water.
Most manufactured sport drinks contain too much salt or sugar. It is better to avoid drinking these before and during competition.
Athletes do not need extra protein, vitamin supplements, or special foods. A well-balanced meal is all that is required in order to successfully compete in vigorous activity.
As an athlete you need about 50 nutrients every day in order to maintain a peak performance level. You can get these nutrients by including the recommended number of daily servings from each food group and by choosing a variety of foods from within each group. The most important nutrients supplied by each food group are listed below.
Suggested Servings for an Athlete
Note: This is only a guide.
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