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Parents Perspective, featuring Dr. Monica Watts

  Broadcast in Sports

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Your performance on game day will depend on the foods you've eaten over the past several days and weeks. But you can boost your performance even more by paying attention to the food you eat on game day. Strive for a game-day diet rich in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat.

Here are some guidelines on what to eat and when:

  • Eat a meal 2 to 4 hours before the game or event: Choose a protein and carbohydrate meal (like a turkey or chicken sandwich, cereal and milk, chicken noodle soup and yogurt, or pasta with tomato sauce).
  • Eat a snack less than 2 hours before the game: If you haven't had time to have a pre-game meal, be sure to have a light snack such as low-fiber fruits or vegetables (like plums, melons, cherries, carrots), crackers, a bagel, or low-fat yogurt.

Consider not eating anything for the hour before you compete or have practice because digestion requires energy — energy that you want to use to win. Also, eating too soon before any kind of activity can leave food in the stomach, making you feel full, bloated, crampy, and sick.

Everyone is different, so get to know what works best for you. You may want to experiment with meal timing and how much to eat on practice days so that you're better prepared for game day.

Want to get an eating plan personalized for you? The U.S. government has developed a website, ChooseMyPlate.gov, that tells a person how much to eat from different food groups based on age, gender, and activity level.

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