Sports and Nutrition-The Winning Connection
The Pregame Meal Planner

What you eat every day can have a big effect on how you perform. What you eat right before an event can be critical. Wrong choices can be disastrous. Right choices can give you that competitive edge. The Pregame Meal Planner will help you make wise food choices.

While the pregame meal can supply your body with significant amounts of energy, don't expect it to supply all the energy you'll need for the event. You should eat the right kinds of food for several days before the event to charge up your muscles with glycogen. Glycogen is a key energy source your muscles use during most sports activities. Although the pregame meal won't cause large increases in muscle glycogen, it will:

  • Help avoid hunger during the event

  • Stablize blood-sugar levels and add some food energy to complement existing energy stores of muscle glycogen

  • Hydrate the body (supply water to the body's cells)

  • Provide a relatively empty stomach at game time

  • Prevent gastrointestinal upset or other adverse reactions to food

No one pregame meal is right for every athlete or every event, but some food choices are much smarter than others. General guidelines for individual food selection and meal planning are on the following page. Make sure your pregame meal plans follow these guidelines.


Next: Pregame Guidelines

Robert J. Reber, Associate Professor in Nutrition
Donald K. Layman, Professor in Nutrition.

A copy of this guide is available in Adobe Acrobat format through the University of Illinois Extension VISTA web site.



Sports and Nutrition—The Winning Connection

Don't Let Your Diet Let You Down | The Pregame Meal Planner
Keeping Energy Levels Up | Keeping Fluid Levels Up | Ordering Information | Credits