Nutrition is everything. Healthy food choices and continuous hydration can enhance reaction time, focus and stamina to compete vigorously on the field. Although baseball does not include continuous activity, the game takes a long time to complete and a smart nutrition plan is required to stay focused, both mentally and physically. Given here is a meal plan that helps you eat healthy and hydrate plenty for maximized performance.
Before the Big Game
Always eat your meal at least three to four hours before the game. Fill at least half your plate with colorful vegetables and fruits, one-fourth of the plate with lean proteins such as whole-grain bread, pasta or brown rice and one-fourth of the plate with lean proteins such as eggs, fish, beans or chicken. Avoid greasy or fatty foods such as cheeseburgers or French fries that can make you feel sluggish. Good pre-game meal options include:
Keep Yourself Hydrated
Any baseball player needs plenty of water to avoid muscle cramps, joint pain, fatigue, headaches, slow reaction time and decreased concentration. Ensure that you drink 2 glasses of water 2 hours before the game and another glass of water 15 minutes before the game.
After the game starts, drink one-half to one glass of fluid every 15 minutes and don’t wait for any signals of thirst as dehydration sets once you start feeling thirsty. Plan ahead and use sports bottles with the demarcation mark clearly indicating the amount of fluid you can consume to stay hydrated through the game. You can start drinking water initially, but switch over to some sports drink after playing for an hour or so as these replenish the body with electrolytes such as sodium (lost in sweat) and carbohydrates to refuel the lost energy.
Pitchers and catchers require more water than the rest of the players as catchers wear heavy equipment and pitchers are in constant movement.
After A Strenuous Game
Some 30 minutes after the game ends, eat a healthy snack consisting of protein and carbohydrates as it helps to repair muscles and restore lost energy. A small peanut butter sandwich on whole-grain bread and low-fat chocolate milk, a smoothie with low-fat milk or yogurt and frozen fruits or string cheese and an apple are good options.
Once the game is over, please don’t forget to drink fluids. You would have sweated and to see how much you need, weigh yourself before and after games. For every 500 grams lost, replenish for the lost energy with 500 to 750 ml of water. It is not healthy to lose weight after a game as it is an indication of dehydration. If you find that you have lost weight post-game, ensure that you drink enough fluids during future games.
For more information on sports-related health queries, please get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com.
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.