As a dedicated athlete, you put thousands upon thousands of hours into your sport. Between practicing, traveling to tournaments, and actually competing, baseball becomes your life. However, one aspect most athletes overlook is the value of proper nutrition. You may be able to eat whatever you want and not gain weight, but that doesn’t mean you are giving your body what it needs to perform at maximum capacity.
Follow these simple game day diet and nutrition tips to reap the benefits.
In order to give it your all out on the field, you need to properly fuel your body, and this starts three to four hours before game/practice time. You will be fueling your body for the long haul, usually four to six hours. The best way to do that is with carbohydrates, which are the body’s main source of energy – a mix of complex carbohydrates, like potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, and rice, with a lean protein source and healthy fats make up the perfect pre-performance meal option. Hydration is essential as well, so make sure to keep sipping on a glass of water.
Example Pregame Meal
Chicken breast with whole-wheat pasta, green beans, and a glass of water
Your pre-game meal should still have you feeling pretty satisfied, but as game time nears, it is helpful to get a quick nutrient and energy boost to make sure your body has enough energy to power through the next few hours. You want this snack to be easily digestible and relatively light, so stay away from whole foods high in protein or fat. Simple carbohydrates work perfectly here, as the body can use them fairly quickly. Some good options here are fresh fruit or a sports drink, like Gatorade.
Example Pregame Snack
Banana and a bottle of Gatorade
During The Game
Practices and games, especially in the summer heat, can really take a toll on your body. Make sure you keep yourself hydrated, and don’t be afraid to add in some carbohydrates and sugar to keep your energy up; just don’t go overboard. A good option here would be a sports drink or a protein/nutrition bar.
Example Mid-Game Snack
Protein bar and Gatorade
Just like after a workout, you need to properly refuel your body after a long day at the field. After pushing your body to the max you can, within reason, choose whatever you would like to eat. That said, it should still be full of nutrients and consist of whole foods. Do not use this as an excuse to eat fast food or drink sodas, as these are counterproductive, and will be harmful in the long run. Build a meal consisting of a protein source of your liking, carbohydrates like pasta, rice, potatoes, or whole wheat bread, then add healthy fat, like an avocado, and then some fresh vegetables.
Example Post Game Meal
Grilled chicken sandwich on whole wheat bun with avocado slices and corn on the cob on the side with a glass of water.