What Your Players Should Eat Before Practice

By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Magazine Managing Editor

Molly Morgan, an Apalachin, N.Y. resident, is a nutrition consultant for professional sports teams as well as a published author. She offers her thoughts on the best nutrition strategy for a high school football team.


Morgan is an advocate for “staying on schedule,” and that means having that first meal before school for high school athletes.

“Breakfast is key to performance gains on the field,” Morgan said. “Breakfast literally helps break the fast and provides the body with fuel to start the day.”

For athletes who are not hungry when they wake up, Morgan recommends packing a banana, almonds, fruit or a nut-type of granola bar to eat later in the morning. Studies show that fueling at the start of the day also leads to performance gains in school.

For athletes who take the time to eat breakfast at home, Morgan recommends whole grains, fruit and protein. Examples include scrambled eggs, toast and fruit or whole-grain cereal with milk.

Lunch should also include a mix of whole grains, fruit, vegetables and protein. Examples include a ham-and-cheese sandwich, apple, whole-grain fruit bar, salad topped with grilled chicken and milk.

Prior to a workout, a player should eat a combination of carbohydrates, as well as some protein and lower-fat combinations such as whole grain bread with turkey and cheese, apple and peanut butter or whole grain cereal with milk and a sliced banana.