For many people, nutrition for GAA players is not as well highlighted as it is in other sports. It is almost just as important as the training itself. It is vital for players to get the right meals on board at the right times. This helps to maximise training and performance.
During the pre-season is when a player must get into a routine of eating healthy meals. This is when it is decided on what works best for a player. Whether its leading up to a training session or pre-season game. This is a very important step as it is easy to fall into just going with the flow and not eating properly.
One of the hardest parts for staying on track is being organised. Preparing meals on weekends is a solution to someone not having much time during the week. Whether it be work or college, when the meals are prepared then you will be able to eat the right meals at the right time. Bringing healthy snacks with you to work or college can help fight off any urges you might have throughout the day for something sweet. Some examples of healthy snacks could be a granola bar, apples, nuts and bananas.
Water- maybe the most important part of nutrition. It is vital to constantly drink water throughout the day. There are endless benefits to drinking water and staying hydrated. Some of them include; Improves Energy, Prevents Cramps and Pains, Boosts the Immune System.
Match/ Training Day Meals
A typical days meals for a GAA player leading up to a match or training have to include carbohydrates and proteins. A sample meal plan for someone playing at a high level is;
Morning of the Game/Training – Bowl of porridge with berries/ bananas, toast, orange juice.
Pre Match Meal (2-3 Hours Before) – 1) Pasta with a tomato sauce, meat, fish or beans. 2) Baked Potato with cheese tuna or baked beans. 3) Rice/Noodles with meat or fish.
Post Match Meal – Rice/Pasta with meat or fish, protein shake
Each of these meals must be accompanied by plenty of water and fluids. There are many variations available for the meals. The main sources of food that have to be taken on board leading up to a game are carbohydrates and proteins. These provide the energy and strength needed to perform at your best level.
By having some snacks with you during the day it will stop you from falling into the trap of eating sugary foods. Some examples of handy snacks to have without you throughout the day are;
Fruit, Berries, Banana, Protein Bars, Light biscuits (jaffa cakes), Yogurt drink.