Every day, CaptainU is working with experts in all areas of cutting edge sports. Each week, we will have a Q&A with experts who answer a pressing question for our athletes.
This week, we talked with Franca Alphin, Director of Nutrition services at Duke University, to get her take on what a Killer Pre-Game Meal would look like.
Fueling your body properly before an event can make or break an athletic performance. The optimal pregame meal/snack will have 3 key things:
Because fat takes a while to empty from the stomach, if you are less than two hours before an event, keep the meal lower in fat; this is not a good time for fried chicken, or burger and fries. More time, though, allows for more digestion, so fat becomes less of a concern.
Ensure that meals and snacks are rich in carbohydrate; potato, sweet potato, pasta, grains, fruits and vegetables but at the same time have adequate protein. A meal too high in carbohydrate will lead to sleepiness, which is not what you want.
All athletes, if not having eaten within the last three hours should consider a pregame snack 45 minutes before competition: higher carb. bars, PBJ, trailmix will all help with sustaining energy throughout the game or event.
Remember: carbohydrates fuel the muscles and the brain especially in high intensity activity. The higher the intensity, shorter duration, the more important the carbohdyrates. Focus on higher quality carbs such as whole grains, potatoes, rice, barley and pasta and limit the amount of simple sugar; pop tarts, candy, desserts, sweet cereals.
Franca B. Alphin, MPH, RDN, CSSD, CEDRD
Franca Alphin is the Director of Nutrition Services at Duke Student Health. She is Board Certified in Sports Dietetics by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She has worked at Duke for over 25 years. Franca works regularly with the Carolina Hurricanes, during their summer recruitment camps, and has worked with other professional teams such as the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers.