You Are What You Eat! 

It’s true that what we eat has an impact on who we are, how we feel and our overall health, wellness and day-to-day life. It’s also true that who we are, how we feel and our day-to-day life have a significant impact on what we choose to eat.

When you don’t have practice or a game, you’re refueling your body and building up energy for the next practice/game. So what should today’s hockey player be eating? Here are some easy answers to a complicated question.

On game days, you need to take special care to put enough fuel in your tank. Here are some guidelines:

Two to four hours before game: 
  • 3-4 servings of carbohydrates, 1 serving of protein
  • Pasta, bread, bagels, rice, sports drinks, juice are all great ideas for Carbs. Try not to have anything fatty or really sweet (French fries, burgers, cake, chocolate or treats…you get the idea). They won’t help you and will only bring your energy down.
  • 1 sports drink bottle = 2 servings of Carbs (Put the leftovers in the fridge for when you get home from the game.)

60 to 90 minutes before game:  At this point, sports drinks are probably the best bet. Have about ½ bottle.

Right before and during the game:  Sports drinks mixed with water are good. Try to have 1/3 bottle every 20 minutes. This may be difficult at first, but try it out during practice first (if you’re not used to drinking that much). This is the optimal amount of water and carbs: it keeps your body in top form throughout the game!

IMMEDIATELY after game (within ½ hour off the ice): Believe it or not, what you do at this point (30 mins-2 hours after game) will affect your performance in the NEXT GAME OR PRACTICE!!!! This is especially critical for tournaments. Have another bottle of sports drink and/or chocolate milk.

One to two hours off the ice: When you get home, try to have a plate of food ready. 30 minutes- 2 hours after the game is the best time for your body to refuel. After the 2 hour mark, your body can’t completely restore all the energy you burned on the ice. A big plate of pasta & sauce with 2 servings of protein and a protein shake are great ideas.

JUNK FOOD: A bag of chips or a chocolate bar is okay to have a couple of times a week. BUT, on game day, this is a BAD idea. It’s ‘empty food’! All it has is LOTS and LOTS of sugar and fat. This will only succeed in draining all your energy, and throw all the hard work you put into eating right out the window.

Additional Resources

USA Hockey Magazine: Nutrition article

ESPN Training Room: Nutritional Guidelines for Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey Nutrition Suggestions from a Strength & Conditioning Coach

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The information, including opinions and recommendations, contained in this website is for educational purposes only. Such information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. No one should act upon any information provided in this website without first seeking medical advice from a qualified medical physician.