October 24th, 2020

Training Matters: Eat smart every day during busy tournament season

By None on December 28, 2018.

Tis the season for world junior hockey! While we are all recovering from feasting at Christmas, hockey players often only get a couple days off before going right back into competition season. At any age, hockey players need to eat well to fuel their activity. Here are some everyday eating guidelines for young athletes to focus on to keep their competitive edge.

Breakfast: After a night’s sleep an athlete’s fuel tank is empty. Eat a healthy breakfast every day with carbohydrates and protein to replenish fuel stores and kickstart the body for the day. Eating breakfast will also help the brain work better.

Start hydrating first thing in the morning by having a glass of milk or water with breakfast.

Have a small snack two to three hours after breakfast to keep your energy levels high.

Breakfast ideas:

— Oatmeal with frozen or fresh berries and a glass of milk.

— Two pieces of whole grain toast with peanut butter and jam, apple slices and glass of milk.

— Yogurt parfait (Greek yogurt layered with fresh or frozen fruit and sprinkled with chia seeds, pumpkin seeds or granola) with a glass of water.

— Two hard boiled eggs or scrambled eggs on a whole grain English muffin and an orange.

— Whole grain cereal with milk and banana.

Lunch: Pack a lunch every day to ensure good choices before after-school practices. Include a variety of food which provide carbohydrates, protein and fluid.

Always include at least one vegetable and fruit serving to help meet daily recommended servings. Vegetables and fruits are a great source of carbohydrate, but also contain fibre, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals for good health and immunity.

Plan ahead and take five minutes to get lunch and snacks prepped the night before to save time in the morning.

Lunch ideas:

— Lean meat (turkey, chicken, roast beef, ham) sandwich on whole grain bread or bun, with cucumber and bell pepper strips with dip, unsweetened applesauce and a bottle of water.

— Large whole grain tortilla with black beans lettuce, tomato, grated cheese and salsa, with baby carrots, sliced strawberries and chocolate milk.

— Whole grain pasta salad with grilled chicken, snap peas, carrots and cherry tomatoes, served with Greek yogurt, banana and graham crackers.

Supper: Often the timing of supper meals can be hard to balance with the training, practice and game schedules of hockey.

If practice is early, plan to eat an extra snack in the afternoon to provide energy and prevent hunger before practice. Follow up with a supper meal right after practice.

If practice is later, plan to eat supper earlier to ensure enough time to digest food so as not to feel uncomfortable during training. Choose foods containing, carbohydrates, protein and a small amount of fat.

Plan meals based on the schedule for the week on weekends when there may be more time to avoid having to rely on fast food which tend to be high in fat, salt and low in vegetable and fruit. Purchase small thermoses and containers that can be used to pack supper on the go. Suppers do not have to take a lot of time to prep.

Supper ideas:

— Grilled salmon, brown rice, steamed broccoli, romaine lettuce salad and a glass of milk.

— Spaghetti and tomato sauce with lean ground beef, spinach salad, and a glass of water.

— Turkey chili with grated cheese, whole grain toast, cucumber and carrot slices with dip.

— Grilled chicken stir-fry with snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower and peppers with brown rice or whole grain pasta.

— Scramble eggs and serve with whole grain toast and bell pepper strips or throw in a wrap with some grated cheese and salsa.

— Open a can of tuna and add to pasta or mix with low fat mayonnaise to put on a bun with lettuce to eat on the go.

What you eat can impact your performance on the ice. Include good nutrition practices as part of your training plan!

Kimberlee Brooks, RD, MSc, is a sport dietitian with the Alberta Sport Development Centre and can be reached at kbrooks@mhc.ab.ca.

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