How to Feed Your Athlete After a Big Game

Many athletes know the importance of eating properly before a game, but what an athlete eats after the game is just as important.  Post-game nutrition plays a vital role in helping an athletes’ body recover, making it especially important for parents to be clued into how to properly feed their athlete.

Young athletes in particular should pay close attention to their diets.  Food is not only fuel for performance but also for growth and development.  Failure to get the right nutrients after a game can result in an increased risk of injury and decreased performance

While pre-game meals are more focused on easily digestible foods, post-game meals should contain a combination of carbohydrates and protein.  Carbohydrates provide energy for the body and come in two forms, simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates, such as milk, fruit and vegetables, are quickly digested and absorbed by the body.  Complex carbohydrates, including whole grains, potatoes, peas, take more time to be digested. Protein helps to build and repair muscles after athletic activity.

Post-game snack ideas (to be eaten within 30 minutes after activity ends)

  • Apple with peanut butter
  • Whole wheat crackers with cheese
  • Banana
  • Orange slices

When it comes to post-game drinks, water is always a great choice but another option that is not readily thought about is chocolate milk.  Chocolate milk provides a good combination of water, protein, and simple carbohydrates, all of which helps replenish the body. And as an added bonus, it tastes great!

Post-game meal ideas

  • Pasta with meat sauce
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Grilled chicken sandwich on whole-grain bread
  • Salmon with steamed vegetables and brown rice
  • Lean proteins (chicken, fish, beans/lentils, tofu, eggs, yogurt and milk)
  • Healthy fats (nuts, nut butter, seeds, olive oil and avocado)

While it is important for young athletes to maintain a proper diet every day, paying close attention to post-game nutrition can help keep your athlete healthy and in peak condition for their next athletic competition.