Q: I'm curious to know what you think are the best foods and drinks to have after a game or practice?
Sean, Humboldt, Sask.
A: This is a really important question to ask, because refueling properly after a game is often overlooked and can have a serious impact on mid- to late season performance. Not eating and drinking properly after a game or practice can make you more susceptible to injury and illness. At any rate, you won't have the energy you did during the opening months of the year.
These recovery foods should be taken no later than 30 minutes after you've stepped off the ice. Blood flow to the muscles is greater at this point, and the muscle cells are more insulin-sensitive. This should be followed-up with a regular meal or snack two hours after exercise.
Foods rich in carbohydrates and protein, plus fluid intake, are the key to good recovery nutrition. The number one recovery item on the list: chocolate or soy milk. As our nutrition expert, Jennifer Gibson says, "it has everything the body needs for recovery - fluids, protein, carbs — and it tastes great."
Take a look at Gibson's blog on the subject for more info.
But one word of advice before you go: to the bane of pickup hockey players everywhere, alcohol after ice time is NOT a good idea. It can actually impair muscle recovery.