12 Dec 2023
Basketball is a fast-paced, high-energy sport that demands a combination of speed, power and endurance, as well as technical skill and mental toughness. While physical training and practice are essential for preparing for a game, so is what you eat.
In fact, eating the right foods (and at the right times) can make all the difference in your performance on the court. It can be the deciding factor between achieving ordinary or extraordinary results!
Don't sweat it! We've got your back. Here's a little cheat sheet packed with important info on food and what to eat to fuel up and boost your training and game performance.
FOOD & NUTRIENTS - THE BASICS
Carbohydrates provide you with energy. Too few carbs can leave you tired, struggling to concentrate and battling to recover after a game.
Wholegrain foods like bread, pasta, and cereal
Fruits like apples, oranges, grapes, watermelon, and rockmelon
Milk and yoghurt
Protein helps build and repair muscles.
Eggs, lean red meat, fish and dairy products
Beans including baked beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds
Healthy fats provide energy and help your brain as it grows and changes through puberty. They also help your body absorb Vitamins A, D, E and K.
Avocados, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil and oily fish like tuna and salmon.
Staying hydrated is most important. Our muscles are roughly 80% water and don’t function at their best when dehydrated.
Being dehydrated can:
Slow down sprinting
Negatively impact shooting performance, specifically accuracy
Affect your balance, concentration, reaction time and mental readiness
Water is always best, there’s no need for sports drinks for regular matches or training.
Sip mouthfuls of water often throughout the day. During the game, top up with small sips at each break. After the game, replenish your body with a big drink.
MY GAME DAY - AMY MANOLE
Kingston Basketball Academy has been an integral part of Amy’s basketball journey, which began eight years ago. As a member of the Kingston U16 and U19 girls teams, Amy’s training includes 3-4 afternoon sessions and 1-2 early morning shooting sessions each week. Amy’s training doesn't end there, she also attends two State Development Program sessions every week.
What are your favourite ways to feel supercharged and unstoppable on game day?
Amy says …
Friday – power up
I usually like to eat some sweet potato gnocchi, that I make at home from scratch! I always make sure to top it off with pesto and a mountain of grated parmesan cheese!
Saturday – game day
I often eat 3 scrambled eggs with a whole onion, a punnet of cherry tomatoes and feta cheese throughout. To cook it in, I like to use a generous amount of ghee. Which makes it and it’s so good for you.
This often varies a lot depending on my game times. It’s usually very light. I make sure to eat a banana as it’s an easy and healthy carb source.
Right before the game
I try my best not to eat before a game, as I don’t want to feel heavy or full as I play. But if I must eat, for example in between games, I like to have medjool dates and dark chocolate.
I just drink water during games. I try to stay away from Gatorade and Powerade, especially during a match. But sometimes it’s nice as a post training treat. Coconut water is a much healthier way to get electrolytes when I’m feeling tired or low.
After the game
My go to meal after a game honestly just depends on what I feel like that day. I won’t shy away from treating myself for getting through the week of training and healthy eating.
Favourite foods to feel supercharged
I love the combination of steak and fresh pineapple on the side. I try to have it for breakfast when I’m not eating eggs. It helps keep my energy levels stable, without the crash sugary cereals give you.
Sports Dietians Australia
Australian Sports Commission