Game Day Nutrition: What to Eat Before, During and After the Game

Game Day Nutrition: What to Eat Before, During and After the Game

game day nutrition

What athletes eat can have an impact on game-day performance. It is important to consume foods that fuel the body and provide enough energy during sports. However, carb-loading isn’t a beneficial strategy for everyone. Loading up on carbs has both its pros and cons for different athletes. With that in mind, we’ve put together our game day nutrition general list of some foods to consider before, during, and after a game.

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Updated: 3/8/2023

why you should eat Earlier A sport or workout and which foods are best?

Many people who eat a nutrient-dense diet that meets their energy needs do not need additional fuel to exercise at a moderate intensity for 60 minutes or less. Because a game usually lasts longer than an hour of vigorous activity, it is recommended that you have some sort of snack or meal before your game.

Right Time – Before the Game

Aim to have a snack or small meal 1 to 3 hours before your game. This will give your body enough time to digest any foods before the game. If you chew right before then you may get stomach upset or GI trouble. This is because more blood goes to your muscles during exercise, leaving less blood for digestion. These competing demands can become a challenge for optimal performance.

Carbohydrates provide the primary fuel for exercising muscles. Athletes should focus on eating carbs, which are broken down in the small intestine. A pre-workout snack It is a mix of carbs, protein and healthy fats that can give you the energy you need to push yourself hard.

Recommendations for what to eat before a game or workout:

  • Oatmeal with Berries
  • balanced energy bar
  • a banana, an apple, or other fresh fruit
  • Curd
  • a fruit smoothie
  • a whole grain bagel or crackers
  • Granola Bar
  • a peanut butter and apple sandwich


  • High Fiber Foods – Broccoli, Baked Beans, Bran Cereals
  • High fat foods – eggs, meat, cheese
  • sugar, soda, candy
  • new foods

what to eat during Play

As mentioned earlier, eating during exercise can lead to stomach cramps. Hydration is key during this time. However, there are some foods that also provide energy boosting hydration. Hydrate based on the length and intensity of activity. Change fluids according to thirst and season


  • Drink 16-32 oz. to exercise for more than 1 hour per hour
  • Sports drinks – for more than 1 hour of activity
  • Watermelon and orange slices are good for half the time


  • high-sugar snacks and drinks – candy, soda, fruit juice
  • energy drinks, caffeine
  • Refined carbs – bread, pasta
  • Sugar and caffeine can cause stomach upset which can lead to decreased performance

what to eat Afterwards a sport or workout:

The most important meal on game day is what you eat after your game or workout. During heavy exercise, your body taps into your glycogen storage, which is the fuel stored in your muscles, for energy. After giving it your all to win the game, your muscles are depleted of glycogen and they are broken. The best thing to do after a game is to eat/drink something with protein and carbohydrates about 30 minutes after the game. This will ensure that your energy stores are replenished, your broken down muscles are nourished to rebuild and repair, and your metabolism is kept at a steady pace.

research shows If you wait to eat just two hours after your workout, the body’s ability to replenish muscle stores is reduced by 50 percent. The sooner you refuel, the better!

here are some great breakfast ideas and food options to fuel up after your game

recommended foods after sports

  • Turkey on Whole Grain Bread with Vegetables
  • Protein shake made with half a banana, one scoop of protein powder, almond milk and hemp seeds
  • Grilled Salmon with Baked Sweet Potatoes
  • Omelet filled with roasted vegetables and avocado
  • Grilled Chicken with Sautéed or Boiled Vegetables
  • Roasted Chickpeas Salad with Light Olive Oil and Vinegar (Vegan)
  • Stir-fried or Steamed Vegetables with Non-GMO Tofu (Vegan)
  • Quinoa Bowl with Blackberries and Pecans (Vegan)
  • Burrito with Beans, Brown Rice, Guacamole and Salsa (Vegan)

Avoid Post-Game or Workout Foods

  • concession candy
  • high fat, fried foods
  • energy drinks, soda
  • large, low-protein meals

don’t forget about electrolytes,

electrolytes There are essential minerals that your body needs to stay hydrated before, during and after exercise. But they do much more than that. Electrolytes also support vital functions of our bodies, such as muscle contraction (including the heart), blood pressure, nerve signaling, and more. They help your body retain fluids during heavy exercise when you’re sweating, so they can lubricate joints and keep your energy up to avoid dehydration-related fatigue. Adding an electrolyte supplement to your drinks throughout the day will keep you in control. Adding lemon and a little sea salt to your drink will do the trick, too!

injured? Need to find a sports nutritionist to design your game day nutrition plan? Reach out to a physical therapy clinic near you to get a local recommendation and get the help you need!

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Read our article on carb loading:

Advantages and disadvantages of carb loading

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff is a team ofc physiotherapist: expert writer, editor, proof reader and content researcher who mind storm their brain to bring helpful educational and informational articles for readers of

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