What to eat before the game? Nothing is definitely not the answer. Going without breakfast before the big game can be a big mistake. Our bodies have been fasting all night while we have been asleep the last thing they need when we wake up is more fasting. We need to fuel up to ensure we have enough energy to get us through throughout the game.
Our pre-match meal doesn’t have to be complicated or purchased at the drive through on the way to the match. I’m sure it’s a rush on game day, especially the Under 10/11 players who have a very early start! Keep your breakfast simple so you can clean up and then argue about lost jumpers, where your footy socks and mouthguard are and who is sitting where in the car.
Being organised and eating your pre-match meal at home is the safest bet to ensure you get all the nutrients you need to play your best. Have a good breakfast 1-3 hours before you play so that the food has time to digest and be converted into energy. A meat pie, hotdog or half a dozen dim-sims 15 minutes before the game is a really bad choice! Not only do these foods take a long time to digest, they lack nutrients,vitamins and minerals which help you perform at your best. And who doesn’t want to perform at their best?
Here are a few examples for a pre-match fuel up. All the foods below contain good quality carbohydrates and good fats which are both an energy source for our bodies…..
1. Warm porridge/traditional oats with milk, a drizzle of honey, crushed walnuts and sliced banana/fruit.
2. Weet-bix/Vita-Brits with crushed walnuts sliced banana/fruit and milk. (do not add sugar!!)
3. A couple of slices of wholemeal/wholegrain toast (Bakers Delight is a good choice) with natural peanut butter
4. Home made granola (muesli) with milk… See our recipe tab for ingredients. 5. A couple of slices of wholegrain raison/fruit toast.
*There are plenty of gluten-free options available at the supermarket in the above products for those who are gluten intolerant.
If your game is later in the day, more than 3 hours after breakfast, you may benefit from a small snack an hour before you play. A banana/fruit, a salad sandwich or some natural yoghurt with berries. Remember, being organised is important!
You should NOT consider the following a healthy pre-game food choice…
~Vegemite on White toast (or anything on white toast)
~Fruit loops/nutri-grain/crunchy nut, coco-pops or any other sugar laden commercial breakfast cereal.They will give you a huge sugar rush and leave you feeling lethargic half way through the game!
~A pre-prepared tetra pack like “up and go”
~A protein bar/ shake, these are not real food!! ~Any take-away food, this is not real food either!!
Make sure you are fully hydrated too and sip on water throughout the morning and through the game!
**A note to parents, what you eat during the game is also important! It has a big impact on your children. Be a great role model! Remember, monkey see- monkey do!