In this blog, I mostly focus on helping lacrosse players like yourself with finding the best equipment, doing the best training, and learning the best lacrosse knowledge. However, in this post, I want to write about something different. Lacrosse is a very physically demanding sport. Without the proper fuel and food to pump up your energy, it’s very hard for you to reach a high level of performance.
Therefore, in this post, let’s talk about what to eat before/after lacrosse practices and lacrosse games. Especially if you are going to a summer camp, morning training could start as early as 7 am. So in order to have enough energy without making yourself feel sick, it’s important to pay attention to your diet.
I also want to preface this post with a disclaimer that I am not a licensed nutritionist. Most of the suggestions come from my own experience playing at college as well as researching online. The key here is to understand what type of food suits you the best.
What To Eat The Night Before
Typically you want to load up on carbohydrates the night before the training or game. This is a pretty common practice among players by now. Options you can consider are pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and wheat bread. I always choose complex carbs over simple carbs like white bread, white rice, or pizza. It’s mainly because I feel bloated after consuming simple carbs the day after, which severely affects my performance.
The reason behind going heavy on carbs the night before is to fuel your muscle energy with glycogen that is in great demand. Due to the amount of running and sprinting involved, carbohydrates are very important to allow your body to feel energized for practices and games. In addition, don’t forget to consume enough protein and veggies as well.
What To Eat The Morning Before
On the actual practice/game day, if you have an early morning training, I recommend you eat something light to kick start the day. Some great options include a banana, an energy bar, some granola, and some oatmeal. The goal is to simply get some food in your system without weighing you down. So these options are a great way to give you enough energy to power through the morning sessions. I personally avoid drinking any liquid but water before practice. Also try to avoid eating eggs or cheese.
Also remember to bring an energy drink and a bottle of water with you so you can refuel during practice breaks. It’s very very important to stay hydrated throughout the practice.
What To Eat The Afternoon Before
As far as lunch goes, you want to have a balanced, light, and healthy lunch before your late afternoon training or game. Mix together protein, carbs, fruit, and veggies in your lunch. Some great protein sources to consider are chicken, beef, eggs, beef jerky, fish, and beans. Personally, I don’t drink milk or touch any dairy on the game day to minimize any stomach issues.
A good split I follow is 40% protein, 30% carbs, 20% veggies, and 10% fruit. One thing to keep in mind is not to overeat. You want to control the amount of food you consume so you feel light and satisfied. And lastly, drink a great deal amount of water. If you feel a little hungry before the game, having an energy bar is also a good idea. Or if you want to prepare an easy halftime snack, consider bringing some beef jerky, nuts, or some fruits for a quick refuel.
What To Eat The Night After
After a lacrosse game, you need to immediately start drinking fluids including electrolytes to replenish your body. In addition, after a period of high intensity of sprinting and physical activity, you need to consume protein for muscle recovery and repair, like the options we mentioned previously, beef jerky, an energy bar, and also some milk as well. This step of replenishment is important in order to avoid a fatigued body that could lead to injuries.
Some great post-game snacks and foods to consider:
- A cup of yogurt mixed with some berries
- A cup of greek yogurt mixed with granola and slices of fruits
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich (using whole-wheat bread)
- Grilled cheese sandwich (using whole-wheat bread)
- Good protein source paired with veggies
- Pasta, brown rice, or whole wheat bread
- A cup of milk
For more options, you can check out this website.
If you already have a routine that works for you, feel free to stick to it. If you aren’t sure how to eat before or after a lacrosse game/training, use this post as a reference to curate your own diet. The best thing you need to do is to be aware of what foods make you feel good and what don’t. I am a fan of keeping things simple so I get enough nutrition and energy from what I eat without feeling terrible.