Ask a Dietitian

Ask a Dietitian

"Diana, just a quick heads up to let you know we are still using your cookbook and the guys will often be heard saying what would Diana say about this or that....really good feed back... I made your potato salad and the oriental coleslaw on Sat. for a family luncheon and had rave reviews so thanks again."

Maeghan Henke
BC Hydro

Sports Nutrition for Hockey Players

January 13th, 2015

After 2 full 20 minute periods players are going to start feeling wiped out. In order to maintain your stamina and keep the winning edge, a proper fuelling program between the 2nd and 3rd periods is essential. Many hockey teams have figured out that if their players eat some carbohydrate foods during the intermission that they will have the energy needed to win the game. However, what you eat and how much you eat, can make or break your players.
Tips for Fuelling Between the 2nd and 3rd Periods
#1 Hydrate: First goal is to hydrate immediately after you get off the ice. At this time a drink with some carbohydrates is a good idea. Sports drinks or fruit juice like apple or grape juice are great choices since they have a high Glycemic Index and will enter the blood stream really quickly.
#2 Fuel: Have easy to digest foods on hand. The amount of food you eat is quite individual. For young players 8-12 years old, they may just want a small box of raisins. Older players can likely handle more food. Have graham wafers, animal crackers and bananas on hand. The food should be primarily carbohydrate, low fibre, low or no fat, and no protein. You want the fuel to be absorbed as fast as possible and enter into the blood stream.
Other options for the dressing room:
Raisins, graham wafers, animal crackers, low fat granola bars (not with nuts), Power gels or Shot Bloks, Fruit to go bars, honey sandwiches on white or multigrain (not high fibre), grapes, bananas, white bagels with honey or jam (not butter and peanut butter), fruit juice smoothies (no yogurt or protein powder).
Back on the Ice:
Players should be taking their water bottles and a bottle of Gatorade for the last period. They should aim to get through at least 1 cup or more in the third period if they are on the ice for several minutes.
Recovery After the Game:
Having some healthy foods on hand for after the game can help promote early refuelling and take advantage of the window of opportunity (within 30-60 minutes post exercise) where your body is best able to replenish glycogen stores. Have the team refuel before the shower. Offer fruit smoothies with Greek yogurt and berries or turkey sandwiches, peanut butter and banana roll-ups or granola bars, fruit and yogurt. A healthy muffin and a fruit or an energy bar with protein are all good choices.

Fuelling during the game and proper recovery after the game are critical components to having the winning edge.