Diet for Basketball Players

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Ashley Charlebois, RD, discusses diet for basketball players.

Ashley Charlebois, RD, discusses diet for basketball players.

Video transcript

Featuring Ashley Charlebois, CEP, RD, Registered Dietitian

Duration: 3 minutes

If you play either competitive or recreational level basketball, it is important to fuel appropriately for optimal performance by choosing the right diet.

This is the kind of sport that requires a high carbohydrate diet because carbohydrates are the only nutrient that as soon as it is digested, it is right away converted into what we call glucose, which is our body's primary source of fuel during activities. You want to be sure that you are eating small, frequent meals throughout the day to keep your energy levels consistent.

It is important to eat a meal that has a high amount of carbohydrates and moderate amounts of protein and fat two to three hours before your practices, games or events, so that you do have enough energy. You may also want to top off your energy stores about an hour before your training session to make sure that you are going to be energized when you start your sport.

If you're gonna be training for longer than 60-90 minutes, you want to include a source of carbohydrates to make sure you are not going to feel fatigued or tired because your energy stores are going to be low at that point. Instead of your body tapping into your internal stores of muscle and fat, you want food such as medium-sized fruit, some dried fruit, maybe a few Fig Newtons, or a sports drink to make sure you are getting an adequate fuel supply from carbohydrates.

You may not necessarily feel hungry right after exercise because your blood sugar levels are kind of circulating around, interfering with your hunger response. However it is still important that you do get something in at this point because this is a really critical time for refueling your energy stores, which have been used up during your exercise, whether it's a practice, a game, or a training session.

You do want to make sure that you do have a snack that is high in carbohydrates to get you ready for your next event. Within the first half hour would be the ideal time to have this high carb snack, such as a piece of bread with some jam, even some chocolate milk, and then again to refuel within the next two hours after your sport.

It is also important to follow the plate rule where you have half of your plate represented by vegetables or fruit, a quarter by lean meats or alternative sources of protein, and then a quarter represented by whole grains. So it's important to remember to try and eat every two to three hours throughout the day to keep your energy levels consistent, leading up to your sport. You want to focus on high carbohydrate meals and snacks before, during as well as after your sport, and also including moderate levels of protein after your sport to help with preparing any kind of muscle tissue damage that might have naturally occurred as a part of the process.

If you have any questions about a healthy diet for basketball players, contact your local registered dietitian or nutritionist.

Presenter: Ms. Ashley Charlebois, Registered Dietitian, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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