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Frank Smoll discusses the psychology of pregame meals in this Psychology Today post

Many questions about what athletes should eat typically arise in the minds of youth sport coaches and parents. These adults know very well that the diet of “little superstars” has something to do with their athletic performance. And, of course, that includes what’s consumed in the pregame meal.

An important point about planning the pregame meal should be kept in mind: It should be planned. A well-planned eating experience tells athletes that their energy level is being adequately fortified to handle the upcoming event. This serves to enhance athletes’confidence and ultimately contributes to their sense of gaining a competitive edge—at least in nutrition .

What are some guidelines for planning the pregame meal?

  • The meal should be eaten 2.5-to-3 hours before the game.
  • Locate a suitable place where the team or athletes can be together and can concentrate on the upcoming competition .
  • The meal is best if it is low in fat, modest in protein, and high in carbohydrates (bread, spaghetti, macaroni, potatoes, pancakes, cereals, fruits, vegetables).
  • The meal should be modest in amount.
  • The menu should avoid those foods that carry a greater-than-usual risk of food poisoning, such as cream gravies, turkey, and cream pastries.
  • Fatty foods are slower and more difficult to digest. Thus, they should be eaten 5 or more hours before a game.

Coaches, parents, and athletes should learn the old rule: Saturday's game is played on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday's food intake.The pregame meal is not the time to try to provide all of the energy for some high-energy-expending competition.

Read the entire post here .