Question: Hello- my son was supposed to ask you last night if you had any pre-game meal suggestions either before the game or the night before. I’m so glad school has started. It is much easier to get the right food in him when he is on his school schedule.
Answer: Hi, for the night before the game – the old carb up rule still applies. Pasta, potatoes, rice,etc. Examples – spaghetti and meat sauce, sloppy joes on whole grain bun and baked chips, homemade 80 % ground beef hamburgers and sweet potato fries, a baked potato with 90% ground beef, cheese, sour cream and anything else you like on there. Don’t eat anything that you aren’t familiar with already. The night before a game may not be the best time to try sushi 🙂
For pregame, regular foods that he’s already eating – peanut butter and jelly on whole grain bread, protein drink, milk, granola, protein bar, turkey sandwich, etc.
That was my short and sweet answer. Additional thoughts would be to make a special occasion out of the night before the game meal. Gather the family round the ol’ wood table and have turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, mash potatoes, and green beans. Take it easy on the dessert though. Have that AFTER the game. Also, avoid, greasy fried foods that may bother the stomach. Eat clean regular meals.
While eating, talk about “peak performance”. Encourage your athlete to relax, visualize, and understand that so much of the game is mental. Stress will only act against you. One of my favorite books is “Peak Performance” by Dr. Charles Garfield, PhD.
Read or browse through these types of books to understand how athletes can perform at their highest potential before and during their game or event. Share a story or 2 from the book with your athlete over dinner. They may pretend to be “annoyed’ but chances are, they are listening. They are probably stressed and nervous and any little peak performance tool that they can use right now could prove invaluable. Deep breathing, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Visualize the game and how you see it playing out. What’s the weather like? Is it warm and humid? Are the skies clear? Can you hear the band playing? The voice over the P.A.? Smell the field, the dirt, feel the sweat.
It may sound funny but research has proven over and over again how playing out an event in your mind before the game can result in “peak performance”.
Finally, just enjoy the spectacle of Friday Night Lights. I played football in high school and looking back, pretty much everything is a blur except the sight of my Mom sitting in the bleachers. That is what I mostly remember.
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