Breakaway bites - hockey nutrition on the road
Last Updated: March 27, 2009 2:30 PM
Jennifer Gibson Minor Menu
Travelling is a way of life for many athletes. As your hockey athlete grows and gets more competitive, it will soon be as normal as lacing up.
Although a great experience to see other cities and places, travelling increases the risk of developing several nutrition related problems that can interfere with performance and health.
Food poisoning can put an athlete out of a game or in some cases, a whole season if it is bad enough. High-risk foods include "fresh" food items such as meat (beef, pork, fish, poultry, eggs) and milk products. Here's what you can do:
- Get restaurant recommendations from local people including hotel concierge staff
- Temperature check - eat hot food hot and cold food cold (eg. don't eat a cool piece of chicken or a warm tub of yogurt)
- Cut through your meat before you eat it to check that its fully cooked
- If it smells bad, don't eat it - really, your nose is your most reliable guide
- Always be prepared for foodborne illness - know where the local walk in clinic is and pack electrolyte drinks/supplements in case it strikes.
Beating a cold
An athletes' risk of catching a cold is increased on the road due to stressors like: changes in time zones, using many more public environments, lack of nutritious foods or local outbreaks of colds and flu. Reduce the risk by:
- Eating a minimum of 3 fruits, 2 veggies (lunch and dinner) per day, having lean proteins (meat and milk) and enough carbohydrate in your diet
- Take a daily multivitamin while on the road
- Maintaining hydration (minimum 2L+ per day)
- Wash your hands with soap and water regularly, or use hand sanitizer
- Get enough sleep every night
It is easy to become dehydrated when travelling due to air travel, environment (warmer, drier climates), changes in normal hydration as a result of changes in daily schedule and of course during training and competition. Dehydration can reduce performance, endurance and put your athlete's health and safety at risk.
- During travel: 1 cup of water per hour of travel
- Keep up daily intake of fluids (2L+ minimum per day)
- Training/competition: pre-hydrate with a minimum of 250-500ml, drink 3-4 gulps every 15 mins during, and drink at least 500ml of fluid afterwards
- Pack fluids in a back pack or in a hydration system before you leave the hotel everyday
Poor nutrition penalties
Healthy choices are not always available on the road. Often parents and champs are left eating at restaurants 3 meals per day. Stay tuned for my next blog for healthy eating on the road!