Hockey is a demanding sport that requires quick thinking, stamina, strength, power and athleticism. A great way to get the extra edge on the ice is by eating healthy. A well balanced diet can help a player react quicker, play better and recover faster. Every well qualified nutritionist agrees that there is no perfect diet for everyone. Here are some nutritional tips that have proven successful for the majority of our athletes. Follow these guidelines and experiment to see what works well with you.
1. Drink Water
It is ideal to drink about one half of your body weight in ounces of water everyday. For example, if an athlete weighs 100 pounds, he should drink 50 ounces of water daily. Start the day off with 1-2 cups of water and stay well hydrated throughout the day. Make sure to bring plenty of water to practices and games. Avoid artificially flavored and colored sports drinks.
2. Eat Breakfast
There is an old saying that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. This is true because a healthy breakfast can positively affect an athlete’s mood, energy and focus for a large part of the day. In order to get the best results, eat a breakfast with plenty of protein. The best protein choices include meat, poultry or fish for the main portion. Combine a protein source with nuts, low sugar fruit and/or vegetables on the side to get the best results. Sounds like dinner, right?
Here are a few Breakfast examples:
- 1 beef or bison patty, 1 handful of macadamia nuts, and an apple.
- 4-6 ounces of salmon, 1 handful of almonds, and green beans.
- 3-4 slices of organic bacon, 2 whole eggs and fresh carrots.
- 1 chicken thigh or breast, 1 handful of cashews, and a small bowl of berries.
3. Eat real food (whole food)
Healthy, real food choices include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Oils (Olive, coconut, butter)
- Natural sweeteners (honey, maple syrup)
4. Stay away from junk food
Foods to avoid include:
- Sports drinks, soda and fruit punch
- Fast food
- Cookies, cakes and doughnuts
- Artificial ingredients and flavor enhancers (MSG, colorings and sweeteners)
- Refined grains (most breads, cereals, pastas, cookies and cakes)
- Imitation foods (margarine, fake butter, soy milk)
- Products that contain corn syrup
A very common question that hockey players ask is “What should I eat on game day?” Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not so simple. This is because a meal that may work well for one athlete is not always guaranteed to work well for another. Finding the best pregame meal requires some experimenting. Use skills sessions and practices to experiment with different food combinations. For best results follow the rules listed within the TOP 4 NUTRITIONAL TIPS and the PREGAME SUGGESTIONS below.
- Avoid sugary foods, sports drinks and juices.
- Avoid dairy
- Avoid spicy foods
- Eat a pregame meal 30-45 minutes before warm-ups. Choose from the Breakfast examples.
- Choose low sugar fruit before games (berries, oranges, apples, pears, coconut)
- Avoid high sugar fruit before games (bananas, grapes, pineapple)