Athlete Scenario

The day of a meet, I often feel nervous and sometimes skip
lunch, only to feel hungry later. Meets are usually in the afternoon so
I know I need to eat something beforehand. What foods can I eat and at what times to
supply me with enough energy to perform well the entire race?

Goals of Nutrition Before Exercise

Consume a carbohydrate-rich snack or meal before exercise to top off muscle
stores. With pre-competition jitters, liquid meal replacements may be a better
choice than whole foods.

Include small amounts of protein in your pre-exercise meal(s). Protein helps
build and repair muscle tissue. Adequate protein before exercise may help
reduce post-exercise muscle soreness.

• Choose pre-exercise meal(s) that are low in fat and fi ber to ensure
optimal digestion.


Pre-exercise Foods & Fluids

3–4 Hours Before Exercise


• Peanut butter & honey on toast + instant breakfast drink

• Fruit and yogurt smoothie + low-fat granola


• Oatmeal with brown sugar and almonds + skim milk + banana


• Low-fat cottage cheese + apple butter + crackers + fresh grapes


• Lean hamburger on bun with lettuce & tomato + side salad +

yogurt-fruit parfait

• Turkey and Swiss sandwich + fruit + sports drink

• Low-fat tuna melt sandwich + fruit cup + fat-free yogurt
30–60 Minutes Before Exercise

• Sports drink or water

• Sports gel, sport beans or gummies, sports bar

• Piece of fruit or jam sandwich