TOP 6 TIPS TO FUEL YOUR GAME
You only get out what you put in. But it is not just about how hard you train, it is also about how well-fueled your body is when you play ball. Our experts have put together their six top tips to help you fuel your training, games and tournaments. Please Note – this is general nutrition information – elite players looking for specific advice should consult a sports dietitian or nutritionist.
Kick start your day with breakfast
Breakfast gives you a real head start. Breakfast improves focus and concentration, and will help re-fuel your body after the overnight ‘fast’. Stay sharp by starting your day with a good breakfast.
Some tasty, easy breakfast ideas:
- porridge or wheat biscuits with milk and sliced banana
- wholegrain toast with a poached egg or baked beans
- microwave baked potato
- banana smoothie
- toast and spreads with a glass of milk
- left-over pasta, taro or kumara
Make sure you have some water or milk to drink too. For more tasty breakfast ideas go to www.breakfast-eaters.org.nz
Planning is the key to success. Plan ahead so you can begin each game or training session well fueled and hydrated. If you are playing a tournament, write a plan of the tournament meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and drinks. Allocate responsibility for different foods and meals to team members. Not only is it cheaper to make your own food, but also it is easier to make sure you are well fueled for the next day’s competition. If you are away from home, try to make sure the place you are staying has good cooking facilities. For easy low-cost meals for families and large groups go to www.feedingourfamilies.org.nz
Re-fuel with vegetables
At the end of the day, load-up your meal with a variety of colourful veggies. As a rough guide try to make the plate ½ vegetables, ¼ protein (eg, lean meat, chicken, fish, legumes), and ¼ carbohydrate (eg, rice, pasta, taro, potato, kumara). Making at least half your meal vegetables is an easy way to make sure you get the goodness you need to repair and re-fuel your body. Canned and frozen veggies are just as good for you as fresh plus they are a fast, easy option – no cutting or chopping at the end of a long day! For tasty, low-cost meal ideas go to www.feedingourfamilies.org.nz
Keep fueled through your tournament
During a tournament a big meal between games isn’t practical, so good snacks can help fuel your body and keep your mind sharp. Be prepared and have water and a variety of healthy snacks on hand in the team chilly bin or in your sports bag for easy access between games. The best snacks are often the ones you prepare yourself – low-cost, tasty and easy to prepare.
Some yummy snack ideas:
- sandwiches or filled rolls – choose your favourite filling – eg, egg and grated carrot, cheese and marmite, peanut butter
- fruit, eg apple, banana, pear, orange
- cold baked potato, kumara or taro
- mini pizzas or toasties (made in the morning or night before)
- small handful of dried fruit and nuts (choose raw, unsalted nuts)
- small carton of milk
Drinks – make water and milk the first choice
Water is freely available from the tap and is perfect for quenching thirst. Have a water bottle on hand and make sure you drink often during training and on game day, especially when the weather is humid or hot. Use your time in the dugout to sip on your water bottle. On tournament days when you are playing multiple games, make sure you have extra filled water bottles available or know where you can refill your water bottle. Try freezing a couple of drink bottles to put in your chilly bin – not only will your water be nice and cold on a hot day, they will act like slicker pads and keep your food cool as well. Milk is another great drink choice as it’s important for strong bones and is rich in nutrients. A glass of milk is a perfect snack that can help repair your body after a tough game or training session.
Choose high-quality fuel
Takeaways are usually high in fat, low in vitamins and minerals, in larger portions than you need, and expensive when compared to cooking at home. Just like petrol is the fuel for your car, food is the fuel for your body. If you put in poor fuel, your body and mind (your engine) will run poorly and break down. If you put in good quality fuel, you will be strong, healthy and focused with all the energy you need to achieve your goals. You don’t have to give up pizza and burgers – homemade “takeaways” can be fast, tasty and economical. For ideas and recipes go to www.feedingourfamilies.org.