Tryout Fuel: Sound Nutrition Strategies for On the Go


bagelAmong the many challenges of hockey tryouts is the fact that they are not necessarily conveniently timed to your life. You may be rushing from school or scheduled hours after dinner—maybe even first thing in the morning. The key to fueling up to wow the coaches on the ice isplanning. At least a day before your hectic week begins with back to school and back to tryouts, plan how your child will get everything he needs for the entire day—from school supplies to hockey equipment and a day’s worth of food.

Check out your game plan for good nutrition based on the following scenarios—all of which work for tryouts and practice times.

Tryouts Immediately After School

If possible, fuel up during school, about 2 hours prior to tryouts, with a mini-meal or snack. To do this, he needs to bring this meal to school (along with his lunch of course, unless he eats the school meal). Good pre-workout snacks include:

  • Granola bars
  • Low-fiber fruit
  • Yogurt
  • Peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich
  • Bagel with light cream cheese
  • Nutrition bar

Pick from one or more of these depending on hunger level and how well food settles in your player’s stomach.

Early Evening Tryouts

If your hockey tryouts are in the early evening (7 pm or so) and your kid has time to come home first, she can eat a mini-meal right after school (4–4:30 pm) and then a mini-meal for dinner. This meal should be low in fiber and fat and include easy-to-digest foods such as:

  • Eggs and toast
  • Spaghetti noodles sprinkled with Parmesan cheese
  • Cereal with milk
  • Chicken breast on rice
  • Broth-based soup

If your kid plays another sport and has practice after school before tryouts, she must refuel immediately after her practice with a sports drink (for calories, electrolytes and hydration) and a portable snack. In this scenario, nutrition bars are very handy (and portable)!

Late-night Tryouts

Kids who are trying out for a team as late as 9 pm should consume a snack or mini-meal after school and another one 2 hours later. So, if they get home from school at 3–3:30 pm, they should eat a light meal and then eat again at about 6 pm. Going hours without food isn’t recommended as they may crash (especially those on the smaller size) before practice. Check out some of the bullet points above for ideas.

Hydration & Snacks: During tryouts, your player should need only water or a sports drink. But, it’s always a good idea to throw a baggie with cereal, pretzels or a nutrition bar—one that is easy to digest like Clif Bar or PowerBar—into the hockey bag.

Refuel: Don’t forget to refuel your player immediately after tryouts as well—with a meal or chocolate milk right away.

Editor’s Note: Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS is a sports nutrition expert who works with athletes throughout the country. Her website is:

Categories: Advice

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