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When most people think of fall, they think of brightly colored leaves and pumpkin pie; but here at WINforum we think of one thing: FOOTBALL! And with football comes fueling football players. So what is a high performance nutrition plan for football players? As always, we believe in keeping it simple and put together this easy to follow, three-step plan for feeding football players – quarterback to cornerback.
STEP ONE: FUEL UP FIRST
Think about it this way: before heading out on a long road trip, what is the first thing you would do? Put gas in the car– and fill’er up to the top. Think of your day as one long road trip and the morning as an opportunity to fuel up. Feed your body a power-packed breakfast. Think eggs, toast, whole or 2% milk and fruit OR oatmeal (with peanut butter and banana) and whole milk yogurt.
Why whole milk? When considering whether to buy whole milk versus skim, consider the additional energy in whole milk (which comes from the higher fat content) to be a bonus to the athlete’s diet (without spending any more money). Morning is an opportunity for athletes to fill their tank, without risking digestive upset sometimes caused by eating too close to practice. Consuming extra energy and nutrients in whole milk aids in a complete fill-up of the tank and provides satiety, brain-developing fat and an energy boost for school.
“Not enough time to eat” you say? We have the solution for you! How about microwaving those eggs or pre-making your oatmeal? Our Pinterest boards and website have tons of quick, easy tank-fueling ideas.
STEP TWO: PACK SNACKS FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE NUTRITION
Athletes’ bodies are built to fuel up every few hours. After breakfast it is vital to have another meal or snack within about 3 hours. Bring trail mix, energy bars, hard boiled eggs or a banana and peanut butter on a tortilla to eat between (or in) your classes. Then after lunch have an easy-to-digest snack just before practice: granola bars, yogurt (freeze and bring along), cheese sticks with fruit or even a protein shake all digest quickly.
Having protein, like dairy, eggs or meat in each snack helps your body maintain and repair muscle tissue. Maintaining fuel levels throughout your day by eating frequently helps your body conserve high energy carbohydrates for those long, grueling practices. Fueling frequently also helps maintain muscle, crucial to high level play.
Need more snack ideas? Our Pinterest page as well as the “snack” section of this website will provide you with more ideas than you have room for in your bag! Keep it simple; remember it is okay to have the same snack every day.
STEP THREE: A WORKOUT’S NOT COMPLETE UNTIL YOU EAT
Eating or drinking the right fuel within 30 minutes of practice will help your body refuel and restore, helping you be ready for the next day’s practice. Drinking chocolate milk, whey-based protein shakes (with carbohydrates) or yogurt smoothies are all great liquid options. A turkey-and-cheese sandwich, 20 gram protein bar or hard boiled eggs and fruit are all great options.
Water in addition to your fuel choice helps replenish the body with the fluids needed to complete the repairing and rebuilding processes. Use a sports drink if practice has been in excessive heat or your body is prone to high levels of sweating.
When playing football or any other sport, it’s important to eat, drink, snack and repeat throughout your day. Your performance on the field and in the classroom depends on it. This 1…2…3 program will get you on your way to success this football season!
The WINforum is a science based sport nutrition resource for coaches, student-athletes and parents. We provide online and on site nutrition coaching and seminars to help improve performance on and off the field.