Food is fuel, especially when it comes to big athletic events. So whether you’re running a half marathon, playing in a big game, biking, swimming, and running your way through a triathlon, or anything in between, eating a good meal beforehand is extremely important in giving athletes the energy they need to perform well and feel amazing doing it.
With that being said, lots of athletes are very particular about what they’re putting into their bodies the morning of the big day. Game day meal choices also vary based on a specific person’s body and what it can handle. It’s all about finding what works for you.
I decided to ask anyone athletic who would answer: what is your game day meal ritual? This what they had to say.
1. Bagel with LOTS of Peanut Butter
Really, I don’t think there’s a more perfect marriage than bagels and peanut butter. This can be a solid choice for people who want a good mixture of carbs, fat, and protein.
2. English Muffin, Greek Yogurt, and Fruit
A lighter choice than PB and bagel, but still just as yummy. Plus, you’re getting all carbs and protein here, folks.
3. Cooked Oatmeal (Plain) and an Under-Ripe Banana
Oats are perfect for anyone who can’t eat gluten but still loooooooovess using grains as their energy fuel. Bananas are a solid choice for any pre-workout because they’re packed full of sugar (carbs) and potassium to power you through your event.
4. A Banana with a Giant Spoonful of Peanut Butter
Direct quote from this athlete: “I alternate bites of banana and peanut butter, then I eat a second spoonful [of peanut butter] for good measure.” Amazing.
5. Pasta Salad
Honestly, this one is a little different. I don’t know how many people wanna run around with all these ingredients jumbling inside them, but hey — to each his own.
Lots of runners prefer to train on an empty stomach, as it is believed to improve performance. Just make sure you’re careful and eat when you get hungry. Continuously fueling your body for longer events is also important.
7. Overnight Oats and Fruit
Start off your big day right with breakfast all ready to go. This one gets pluses because it’s in a jar, so you can take it on the go.
8. Banana and Half a Plain Bagel
This is my personal go-to. Simple, basic, and gives me all the carbs I need. (Yes, the other half of the bagel is too much.)
9. Giant Pancake Breakfast the Morning Before
Another personal favorite of mine. Eating a huge carby breakfast the morning before a race (and then doing nothing for the rest of the day) allows all those carbs to convert to stored energy so you can kill it the next day — without feeling full from eating a carb-loaded dinner.
10. Any Pasta Dish and a Gatorade
What other way are you going to get good carbs and electrolytes in the same meal?
11. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
I don’t know if I could ever do this, but I wish I could. I legit am in love with PB&J and I’m incredibly jealous of the lucky soul whose body can use this as its fuel.