Eating right during both on and off season is essential to keep you healthy and alert on the field, but nutrition is especially vital on game days so you can put your best foot forward. Every single conditioning session, workout, and practice is important— but let’s face it, there is more pressure to be in tip-top shape on game days when everyone is watching and your team is depending on you. For this reason, we have provided baseball players a few helpful tips on how to eat and drink on big game days so their bodies will be nourished and ready to face the field.
1) Water is your best friend.
Drinking water is a huge priority on game days. Ideally, you should start hydrating the day before a big game. We recommend you drink 8-10 cups of water on a game day, assuming you are not intaking any other fluids. Drinking 8-10 cups of water will keep your body replenished and will prevent you from becoming dehydrated or overheated on the field. Be sure to drink water in increments. The last thing you want to do is chug a whole bunch of water all at once. This could cause you to become sick. Pace yourself throughout the day, from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. Remember that drinking water after a game is just as important as drinking water both before and during a game.
2) Breakfast can make or break you.
You’ve probably heard this 1,000 times but we are here to tell you once more: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You should never skip out on breakfast during a big game day, ever. Eating carbohydrates and protein in the morning will wake up your body and brain. It will essentially refuel you after after a long nights rest and start off your day the right way. Your breakfast will set the tone for eating right the rest of the day so make sure you don’t eat junk in the morning that is loaded with a bunch of sugar. Instead of having waffles with butter or sugary syrup in the morning, try replacing that option with something like whole grain toast and fresh fruits. This will amp up your body and set it up on the right digestive track for the remainder of the day.
3) Be wary of dairy.
On game days try to limit your dairy intake. For those who are not lactose intolerant, our bodies still take awhile to digest digest the fats from dairy. For this reason, on game days you should stick to low fat dairy products and avoid dairy products that are high in fat. For example, instead of cow milk, choose an alternative like almond milk. Instead of eating a regular cup of yogurt, eat almond or coconut based yogurt. This way your body won’t be overloaded with unwanted fat that is more difficult to digest. The last thing you want is to feel sick or worn down come game time.
4) Give the body what it wants: carbohydrates.
Your body especially needs carbohydrates anytime you are going to exert your body in the form of exercise. For this reason, we suggest you incorporate plenty of carbs into your diet when you have a game ahead. This includes grains, fruits and vegetables. Be sure to eat the purest form of carbohydrates as possible, don’t weigh down your diet with too much grease, sugar or fat. Eating whole foods like apples and oranges will be much better for you than processed foods.
5) Timing is everything.
Spacing out your meals and your fluid intake is important. It is essential that players do not stuff themselves on game day, especially just hours before the game. Eating plenty is a must, but eating too much can be overwhelming for your body. When you step foot out onto the field you want to make sure all of the food you ate that day is fully digested and that your body is ready for action. For this reason, you should also make sure you eat your last meal at least 2 hours before game time. It is okay to have a small snack, but make sure it is at least at hour before the game begins.