'Recharge with Milk' Player Training Resources

Recharge With Milk's Monthly Training Article
Contributed by the Dairy Farmers of Canada

September 2014 - How to Eat Before You Compete


Timing, size and nutrient combination of a meal or snack go hand in hand.  Whether eating at home or on the go, the pre-event meal should be high in carbohydrate, moderate in protein and lower in fat.  This power-fuel combination is easy to digest and gives the athlete the confidence needed to fulfil their call of duty!

Whether eating at home or on-the-go, the goal is to ensure that food and fluid do not hinder but rather enhance exercise performance.

Pre-Performance Sport Nutrition Planning

Timing Pre-Event


Meal/Snack Ideas

3 - 4 hours



High carbohydrate

Moderate protein

Decreased fat, avoid fried foods




-Pasta with tomato based meat sauce, dinner roll, fruit salad with low fat yogurt and water/low fat  milk/fruit juice


-Grilled chicken sandwich (mayo on the side), low fat muffin, and low fat milk/juice


-Lean meat wrap/sub with veggies and low fat dressing or cheese.  Apple slices and Milk.


2 – 3 hours


High carbohydrate

Lower-Moderate Protein

Low fat



-Turkey sandwich with mustard, hold the mayo.  Banana. Milk


-Oatmeal cooked in milk topped with yogurt and fruit. Water


-Large fruit smoothie made with milk & low fat muffin

1 – 2 hours


High carbohydrate

Lower protein

Low fat


-Low fat cottage cheese, apple, crackers and juice


-Low fibre breakfast cereal, sliced banana with low fat milk


-Liquid meal (nervous stomach)

< 1 hour


High carbohydrate

Low to no protein

Low to no fat


-Cereal based trail mix and water/juice


-Jam/honey sandwich and water


-Piece of fruit

< 30 minutes


High Carbohydrate

No protein

No fat


-Sport drink (can be home made...1/2 fruit juice, ½ water, pinch of salt)


-Fruit/vegetable juice


-Pretzels and apple sauce (or other pureed fruit)

Plan ahead and be prepared!  Remember, the purpose of the pre-event meal or snack is to top up energy stores and hydrate so the athlete can perform their personal best. 


- Plan and prepare meals and snacks in advance so that nutrition is not left to chance.
- Choose high carbohydrate, low fat foods that are familiar and well tolerated.
- Stay hydrated throughout the day up until your event.
- Experiment and practice with type and timing of meals and snacks in training.
- Try liquid or low fibre meals if pre-event nerves or other gastrointestinal upset arise.
- Keep track by monitoring what works so you have a solid eating plan the day of competition.
- Work with a dietitian who has experience working with athletes.

Meals & Snacks at Home or On-the-Go

At Home

At the Deli/Gas Station

Fast Food/Canteen



- Pasta with low-fat tomato sauce

- Dinner roll

- Orange

- Low-fat yogurt

- Water/low fat milk/juice

- Pancakes with yogurt & berries, ham, and juice 


- Lean meat sandwich, veggies, low fat dressing/cheese

- Apple slices

- Milk-2-Go/juice/water

- Minestrone soup, crackers, yogurt with fruit salad, and juice



- Grilled chicken sandwich, sauce on the side

- Apple slices/yogurt parfait

- Milk/juice

- Bagel with peanut butter and jam

- Milk


- Nut with cocoa spread and banana wrap

- Milk

- Smoothie with low fat muffin

- Homemade sports drink (1/2 juice, 1/2 water, pinch of salt)


- Raisins & pretzels

- Sports drink

- Fruit bars, low fat cereal bars

- Crackers & cheese strings

- Oatmeal cookies & low fat milk

- Trail mix & cereal


- Milk/Chocolate milk

- Cereal bars

- Pretzels (hard)

Fruit bar

- Juice


Food choices will be based on preferences, meal timing and where you will be.  Keeping a backpack with snack options can save an athlete from having to make poor choices before the event.

Teams that plan together will perform better! 


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