3 Pre-Game Meals For Hockey Players

Have you ever walked onto the pitch feeling bloated from eating too much before the game? Or started to feel fatigued half way through a game because you didn’t have much energy?

This is not necessary down to your fitness. It could be related to your nutrition.

Nutrition is a fundamental factor that fuels our energy.

In this article we will focus on some pre-game meal options, but please understand that this is just one piece of the puzzle.

Fuelling for games is not just about the about the meal you eat before you play, it is about how you eat throughout the day. You need to maintain your blood-glucose levels for sustained energy.

Pre-game meals need to be balanced and include good sources of carbohydrates, protein and fats.

3 Pre-Game Meals For Hockey:

There are loads of options but here are just a few ideas and suggestions for pre-game meals.

1. Wholemeal chicken wrap 

This is my personal favourite pre-game meal and probably the easiest and most convenient of the ones listed here. If you are on the run, you could always make it the night before.


Add some free range chicken (ideally grilled), lettuce or spinach, tomato and/or avocado onto a wholemeal wrap and wrap tightly making sure one end is closed.

Optional: You can add a light dressing of balsamic vinaigrette

2. Wholewheat pasta with grilled chicken or tuna and veg


Mix wholemeal pasta with a high protein source such as chicken or tuna. Add a vegetable of your choice such as broccoli or mushrooms (greens are best).

3. Grilled salmon with brown rice and veg

Salmon has plenty of omega 3 which offers some great benefits. Choose whatever vegetables you like, something like asparagus or steamed carrots go quick well.


Try to steer clear of using sauces that have high levels of sodium such as soy sauce.

Here are a few common questions and other important things to understand about pre-game nutrition.

When should you eat your pre-game meal?

Everyone is different so you have to figure out what works best for you but a good general guideline is to aim to eat a good balanced meal at least 2 hours but up to 3 hours before your game.

What about carbo-loading?

People sometimes talk about carbo loading which often refers to the more endurance based sports like marathons for example that last over 90 minutes. Bear in mind that our body can only store so much in the muscles at one time, so more carbs is not necessarily better.

Not all carbs are equal

It’s important to understand that there are good carbs and bad carbs which release into the bloodstream at different speeds, this is often referred to as the GI (Glycemic Index).

If a food item releases quickly into the bloodstream then it is considered high GI which would be better if you only had less than 1 hour before playing.

High fibre, lower sugar foods like wholemeal varieties have a lower GI than white varieties as they release slower into the bloodstream which is better for longer lasting energy.

The GL (Glycemic Load) takes your entire meal into account which is more relevant in most cases as you will probably never eat just bread or pasta on it’s own (and I don’t suggest you do).

A hockey player needs their energy to be sustainable meaning a balanced meal is more important than just carbs alone.

How much do I need?

It’s not just about what and when, but we also need to consider how much we need.

Again, everyone is different so one exercise that I do with clients is to calculate how much they need for them, based on many variables such as age, height, weight, activity levels, etc.

This is important to make sure that they are consuming enough but not too much. Often I find that most players aren’t eating enough of the right foods.

I am a firm believer of eating clean unprocessed foods and I’ve noticed a huge difference in energy levels when doing this. It’s not just about what you eat but the quality too.

* These are just guidelines and suggestions and everyone is different, so…

If you are looking for more personalized advice then you can request a free strategy session here

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About The Author

Lauren Penny

Lauren is a former International Hockey Player, Performance Coach & Mentor specialising in helping hockey players to be more confident, improve their fitness and perform more consistently to get noticed and reach higher teams.

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