HIGH PERFORMANCE LUNCH: Your pre-practice or pre-game FUEL supply

lunch room
Lunch is the meal that tops off your fuel supply before practice or the big game. Skip it and your energy may run out.

When fuel supply runs low, the body uses more muscle tissue for energy. This means you lose MUSCLE while you exercise. Eat an energy filled lunch to avoid using your hard earned muscles for energy.

The athletes’ lunch contains one food from each column below.  Have a variety of colors for extra energy producing vitamins and minerals.

Grains + Protein (energy + muscle building Fruit (energy + vitamins) Veggies (vitamins + minerals + fiber) Snacks (extra energy for sports + school) Hydrate (performance enhancing)
turkey + cheese sandwich apple carrots yogurt water
beans + rice banana cucumber energy bar low fat milk
hummus + pita kiwi snow peas string cheese juice (or diluted juice)
leftover chicken + rice go go squeeze salad granola bar sports drink for practice
Greek yogurt + granola applesauce steamed or fresh broccoli yogurt drink juice box
pasta + chicken salad dried tart cherries grilled zucchini trail mix 100% juice drink
Chicken and cheese quesadilla peaches cauliflower fig newtons chocolate milk (for post practice)
Peanut butter + jelly fruit leather roasted red peppers almonds water

Tough questions athletes are asking:

Is it ok to eat the same thing for lunch everyday?

Eating the same thing every day for a week is just fine, as long as you are getting enough energy (calories) to fuel your performance. However, if you eat the same thing week after week you are missing out on vital nutrients that come from eating a variety of foods.

Feed Your Game expert advice: Mix it up!

Burrito Lunch for Teen Athlete

Is it ok to drink sports drinks rather than water?

Sport drinks serve a purpose: they fuel the body in motion and provide electrolytes to keep your body hydrated.  They can enhance performance for an athlete who is moving for more than 60-90 minutes.  Outside of practice and games, drink mostly water (with milk at meals).

Feed Your Game expert advice: Drink water most of the time. Add sport drink when needed during play!

athlete drinks water

I am not very hungry for lunch, why do I need to eat it?

Lunch serves as a major source of energy for your practice or game.  About 30% of your energy comes from lunch and snack.   If you skip it, you run the risk of running out of energy.  This energy is what you need to focus, get stronger and faster, and gain a higher level of skill. Eating is part of your responsibility as an athlete.

Feed Your Game expert advice: Just eat it.

team running onto field

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Slam dunk it with more high performance lunch ideas:

1. Whole-wheat tortilla wrap of hummus, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, feta cheese and black olives, a carton of vanilla yogurt, and berries.

2. Pita stuffed with vegetarian refried beans, salsa, lettuce and shredded cheddar cheese, and apple slices with peanut butter.

3. A green salad loaded with canned chunk light tuna, carrot strips, pepper slices, tomato wedges, red beans, and dried cranberries topped with balsamic vinaigrette, crackers, with a cup of low fat chocolate milk.

4. A peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat bread, a piece of fresh fruit, and low fat yogurt.

teen athlete's play basketball