Nutrition: Suggested Guidelines for Student Athletes

Phase I: Nutrition Information for Athletes

What is Sports Nutrition?

Sports nutrition is the study of nutrition as it applies to athletics. Good nutrition is important for peak athletic performance. A healthy diet consisting of carbohydrates, lean protein and low fat will provide the necessary fuel for the body to work at its maximum. It is also concerned with the quality and quantity of fluid and food taken in by an athlete. Players, who are not nutritionally fueled, may lack the energy to maintain peak performance in training and competition.

Eat to Compete

Timing is everything! Make your food work for you. When you eat is just as important as what you eat!

Pre-event Meals — High in carbohydrates and easy to digest
It takes 1- 4 hours for food to leave your stomach High carbohydrate foods leave your stomach the fastest, and give you quick energy. In order to avoid hunger, delay fatigue, and minimize abdominal cramping eat a meal 3-4 hours prior to the event. A small snack about an hour before the event is appropriate.

Post event meals/recovery — Should be within 2 hours of workout
The first priority post-exercise is to replace any fluid loss. It is also important to consume some carbohydrate immediately within 15 minutes after exercise to start restoring glycogen. Some examples of foods to consume include fruits, juices, sports drinks, smoothies etc. Consuming protein with carbohydrates post-exercise will help build, maintain and repair muscle.

Importance of Snacks — Be careful of timing
Eating frequently throughout the day is the best way to rev up your metabolism, as well as stay fueled for competition. Snacking between meals can increase your energy levels and improve your performance.

Snack Suggestions to have in student-Athlete’s bag:
Snacks should be low in added sugars
Granola or breakfast bars; Bagels with peanut butter; Cheese and crackers; Fresh fruit like
apples, oranges, or bananas; Carrots or celery; Raisins, nuts, or trail mix; Low-fat yogurt,
Berries-in container.

NOTE: To perform at your best LIMIT these “refined” carbohydrate foods: Sugary foods such as
cookies, cakes, pies, candy, pop tarts, soda (regular or diet), donuts, candy bars, “white” breads,
high sugar cereals.

Carbohydrates: The ENERGY Provider

Carbs are an athlete’s primary source of energy. They provide working muscles the energy they need to jump, run, lift and swim. For athletes, complex carbohydrates are the best fuel. Complex carbohydrates include: pasta, rice, bread, bagels, potatoes, cereal, fruit and

Choose these HIGH CARB FOODS
Whole Grains: oatmeal, 100% whole grain breads, whole
wheat or corn tortillas, whole wheat bagels and English muffins, pasta, brown rice, low sugar cereals (ie: All-bran, Cheerios, Total, Kashi, Wheat Chex, Wheaties, Raisin Bran, Smart Start, Basic 4, Blueberry Morning)

Fruits: (fresh and canned in own juice) and 100% fruit juice

Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, carrots, green beans, tomatoes, asparagus, bell peppers, celery, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, Starchy vegetables: red or sweet potatoes, yams, corn, green peas, and green beans.

Dairy: yogurt, low fat cheeses (like mozzarella cheese sticks) 1%, nonfat or skim white or
chocolate milk, cottage cheese


Proteins help re-build and repair the body’s tissues. Muscle tissue depends on protein to repair the damage done during exercise. Most people get more than enough protein from the food they eat.

Suggestions: Skinless turkey or chicken, lean pork, fish, nut butter, seeds and eggs

FATS: Longer lasting ENERGY

Dietary fat is frequently undervalued as a contributor to health and performance of athletes. Fat is an extremely important fuel for endurance exercise, along with carbohydrate, and some fat intake is required for optimal health. Dietary fat provides the essential fatty acids (EFA) that cannot be synthesized in the body.

Suggestions: Fish, nuts, avocado, seeds, nuts, olive oil and eggs.

Hydration — Often undervalued by high school athletes

Loss of 2%-3% of body weight in sweat can decrease performance.
Check weight before and after heavy workout; rehydrate according (see below under “Rehydrate”)

Pre-hydrate: Drink eight 8 oz glasses of fluid the day before game
Drink 10 oz water 1.5-2 hrs before game.

Hydrate During the game
Drink 3 oz-7 oz of fluid (water) every 20 minutes.

Drink 16 oz. fluid for each pound lost. Remember, drink whether you are thirsty or not!

Eat small, frequent balanced meals with a variety of foods for vitamins and minerals.
Stay well hydrated before, during, and after exercise.