If you’re like most rec hockey players, your idea of post-game nutrition is an ice-cold beer. But is that best for you?
By Michael H. Manchess
You’re not exactly playing in the NHL, but the pounding and stress of a hockey game puts a tremendous strain on your body. Calories are being burned, muscles are breaking down. Smart post-game nutrition choices will help you quickly bounce back.
Coconut water. If you haven’t yet tried a glass of coconut water, you’re missing out on what may be the most refreshing drink on the planet. It’s great for replenishing the glycogen levels in your blood, which helps to restore your energy.
Sports drinks. The jury is out on whether it’s best to consume a sports drink or water during a hockey game. But the sugars, salts and electrolytes might be just what you need after you play.
Pasta. You’ve been taught for years that athletes should load up on carbohydrates such as pasta before an event. Truth is, a nice big bowl of pasta as your post-game nutrition will boost those glycogen levels too.
Beer. Bet you weren’t expecting this one. The sugar from the alcohol and the carbs from the grains help to replace depleted energy stores in your body. The darker the beer, the better. The key is moderation. And while it may be fun to replenish your body’s essentials with your favorite beer, be sure to drink responsibly.
Pizza, burgers. Now that the game is over, kick back with a burger or a slice or two of pizza. With pizza, the gluten from the dough, along with the lycopene (an antioxidant) from the tomato sauce, can be a delicious way to replenish; add mushrooms for a great source of fiber. Thin-crust pizza is best—you don’t need the heavy gluten and fat content of deep-dish. Plus, the protein is great for rebuilding muscle that was taxed during your game. And don’t be too concerned with your intake of carbohydrates; your body is still burning calories.
The bottom line: You’ve got a one-hour window in which to enjoy yourself. So go ahead, have a little fun!
[The information contained in this article is not meant to replace the advice of a physician. Check with your doctor if you have any dietary restrictions.]
For further info on your pre-game meal, see “What to Eat (Or Not Eat) Before a Hockey Game.”
Michael H. Manchess offers athletes advice on proper conditioning and nutrition. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org