Nutrition Strategies for Hockey Tournaments

Hard to believe Christmas has come and gone so quickly.  If you are like most of the young hockey players I train or if you are one of my beer leaguers who has kids that play hockey, you are probably off to a tournament as you read this.  I wanted to pass along a few strategies to help you keep y0ur energy levels up so you can perform at your best throughout the tournament.

If you have ever felt great at the beginning of a tournament, but worn down by the time your team got to the final (and most important games), this post is for you.

To me the best strategy is just to eat well balanced healthy meals and be prepared to have a snack immediately after each game.  This post-game snack is the critical element.

So let’s say you are playing the following tournament schedule:

  • Friday game 8pm
  • Saturday game 10am
  • Saturday game 6pm
  • Sunday game 4pm

Here is how you would plan out your meals:

Friday – Game at 8pm

  • Breakfast  7:30am – cereal, milk, yogurt, juice or pancakes, scrambled eggs, juice – no caffeine as this will dehydrate you.
  • Mid AM Snack – apple + cheese string
  • Lunch – noon – lean meat sandwich (chicken/turkey) on whole wheat bread with tomato, lettuce and mustard.
  • Mid PM Snack – 500ml of milk
  • Pre-Game Meal – 5pm– pasta with tomato sauce (no cream sauce), add either grilled chicken to the pasta or get the tomato based meat sauce, salad, one glass of milk, one glass of water
  • Pre-Game Snack – 7pm – could have a banana with 6 peanut butter crackers or ½ a Powerbar
  • During the game – now is the time to drink Gatorade or Powerade
  • Post Game Snack – immediately – you are trying to get 20g of protein and 40g of carbohydrates as soon as you can.  This could be 250ml container of chocolate milk ( a little light on protein) so add in a cheese string or a handful of almonds or 2tbsp of natural peanut butter.   You could also chose a commercially prepared sport nutrition shake such as EAS Myoplex Lite (this one is a little light on carbs, so add a banana, apple or grapes)
  • Post Game Meal – as soon as you can – pasta, tomato based meat sauce and salad.  A grilled chicken sub on whole grain bread is another good option.   Drink either one container of Gatorade and one container of water or two containers of water.

For the other days, you will follow similar food choices but a different schedule.

Saturday – Games at 10am and 6pm

  • Breakfast @ 7am
  • Pre-Game Snack @ 9am
  • Post Game Snack
  • Post Game Meal – as soon as possible (1pm)
  • Mid Afternoon Snack @ 2pm – optional based on time of post game meal
  • Pre Game #2 Meal – 3pm
  • Pre Game #2 Snack – 5pm
  • Post Game #2 Snack – immediately
  • Post Game #2 Meal – as soon as possible (9pm)

Sunday – Game at 4pm

  • Breakfast @ 8am
  • Mid Morning Snack – 10:30am
  • Pre Game Meal – 1pm
  • Pre Game Snack – 3pm
  • Post Game Snack –immediately
  • Post Game Meal – as soon as possible

For those of you who are traveling to tournaments, drive safely!