Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

To Eat or Not To Eat?? That is the Question..

Sometimes bad eating habits and extreme dieting is established early in life for athletes. How many athletes have experienced needing to lose 10 pounds to play on the team? Well that’s not a good healthy habit. Now I’m no food police but data shows that it is not healthy. Proper eating habits and nutrition are essential to an athlete’s performance. Athletes must approach healthy eating the same as they do practice and games. Bad eating habits and food neglect result in poor performance.

Proper nutrition is extremely important for football players. Due to the amount of movement and fast take offs, carbs are highly needed to fuel the body. As an athlete we are always trying to figure out what we can do that will make us excel high above the competition. Well for starts, a proper diet will do just that. Its like a car; if I want to get from point A to point B I have to put something in my car to get it there. The recommend source is gas, but water is cheaper. (now if only we could put water in the gas tank and drive). How far would you get? Not far at all. It’s the same when we look at our bodies. If you put junk in, you get junk out.

Many of our players don’t eat trying to reach a certain weight, or because they are too busy and many other excuses. But going back to the car example, if I try to drive the car with nothing I will go NOWHERE! A player who comes to practice without having eaten breakfast or lunch, or skimps on fluid intake during hot summer practices, is not going to be much help to themself or the team. There will be little to no improvement in the athlete’s skills and performance. There are many mistakes players make when it comes to proper nutrition some include:

• Not Eating Breakfast
• Not drinking enough fluids
• Not eating at regular intervals
• Eating too much protein and short-changing carbohydrates

Always eat before practice and a game so the body is loaded with what it needs to perform. You should choose light foods and foods lower-fat. A heavy meal weighs the athlete down and doesn’t provide what the athlete needs to perform at their best. Try to avoid foods such as, fried meats, fried potatoes, bacon, and sausage. Instead, choose foods that favor leaner protein, grilled/baked, tomato sauce and carbohydrates. Once the game is over you should always refill the body with the lost nutrients to get back into gear.



Here are a few recommendation of good snack ideas (please consult with a doctor for the proper nutrition for your child)

• Pretzels
• Fig Newton’s
• Graham Crackers
• Rice Cakes
• Cut-up Fruit (oranges, apples, bananas)
• Crackers
• Bagels
• Granola Bars
• Cliff Bars/Power Bars
• Raisins, Dried Fruit
• Water
• Gatorade or other sports drinks


Foods to avoid all the time but especially on game day
Soda pop or carbonated drinks of any kind
• Candy
• Cakes or cupcakes
• Donuts or muffins
• Chips
• Cookies


A List of 10 halftime snacks (Frozen is great but from my experience grapes do the best)

Orange slices
Melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, etc)
Apple wedges
Carrot sticks



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