Don’t Let A Lack of Nutrition Slow You Down This Season

As school begins to start again, many practices often change to mornings, and two-a-day practices are scheduled. With all the changes that take place prior to the start of a new season, it is important to adapt your eating to the new schedule to keep your body fueled with proper nutrition.

If you’re not accustomed to eating in the morning before practice, it’s time to start! Eating a meal or snack before you head out to practice provides adequate fuel and energy needed to keep you going. You wouldn’t put half a tank of gas in a car to go on a 500-mile road trip, because you would be stranded on the side of the road before you knew it!

Likewise, if you don’t fuel your body adequately before a long morning practice or camp, your body will quickly hit empty. Grabbing a snack about 30 minutes to an hour before practice will have you energized and ready to take on your workout. Pre-workout meals and snacks need to be high in carbohydrates, moderate to low in protein, and have little-to-no fat and fiber. Here are some quick and easy pre-workout snack options:

  • Energy bar
  • Plain bagel with a thin smear of peanut butter and a banana
  • Smoothie with protein powder, fruit and juice/milk
  • Peanut butter crackers
  • Baggie of dry whole grain cereal

After an intense morning practice, it is time to refuel your body. Whether you’re done for the day or have another practice in the afternoon, eating post-workout helps you replenish and rebuild. It is important to eat a post-workout snack within 30 minutes after practice to kick-start the recovery process.  Even if you don’t feel hungry, you need to give your body the nutrition it is craving to help you recover faster.

This snack should have a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein and little-to-no fat. This means for every four grams of carbohydrates you eat, you need one gram of protein. The carbohydrate is the energy that replenishes your body while the protein is what starts to rebuild your muscles that were broken down during your workout. In order to fully complete the recovery process, it is important to eat a well-balanced meal within an hour-and-a-half of eating your post-workout snack. This meal should be rich in carbohydrates and fluids, moderate in protein, and low in fat.

Post-workout snack ideas:

  • Low-fat chocolate milk
  • Smoothie/shake with fruit, low-fat milk & whey protein
  • Energy bar
  • Whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk
  • Yogurt with granola

Post-workout meal ideas:

  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole-wheat bread, apple and low-fat milk
  • Whole-wheat bagel, peanut butter, banana and low-fat milk
  • Omelet with low-fat cheese, veggies and ham paired with whole-wheat toast and fruit
  • 6” Subway on wheat or honey oat with veggies, lean meat, and cheese, baked chips and fruit
  • Grilled chicken sandwich and a fruit cup

Modifying your eating habits for the fall sports season may take a little bit of work, but the benefits of eating a pre- and post-workout snack and meal are worth it! You will have more energy, recover quicker, and feel better because your body has the fuel it needs to power through the season!

For more information from Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Dietician visit

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