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If I survey 100 athletes and ask what they ate in the last 2 hours before practice, answers will vary of course, but a good percentage of them will land in these top three:

  • Nothing
  • Chips
  • Starbucks Frappuccino

Oh boy. They are really running on fumes!

3 Reasons Why Athletes Don’t Eat Before Practice

What I have found is that athletes don’t eat before practice for one of 3 main reasons

  1. They don’t have food available
  2. They don’t feel hungry
  3. They are afraid they will feel bloated or “heavy” during practice                 

All three reasons are easy to overcome by making some simple tweaks, and in fact, once a young athlete connects the dots between what/when they eat and how good they get, they are able to overcome just any obstacle! 

So let’s list some good snacks to have before practice:

  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Granola with plain yogurt and honey
  • Apple slices with peanut or almond butter
  • Trail mix: make up your own! usually including cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, chocolate chips, peanuts, and hemp seeds
  • Cliff bar
  • Pitta chips and hummus (or rice crackers, if gluten-free kiddo)
  • Green smoothie (or fruit smoothie)

For those who are afraid of getting a queasy stomach or if they have a very short window of time to eat, such as 10-15 minutes, before practice starts, easy-to-digest snacks include

  • Grapes
  • Watermelon
  • Mandarin orange
  • ½ banana
  • Dried mango
  • Cheerios

So, Mom and Dad, make sure that you have a good supply of these things for your student-athlete. According to a Boston College hockey coach, a lot of athletes are definitely showing up for training, but they don’t show up for meals. If athletes are not going to fuel properly, she says, “they might as well not show up for training.”