Pre & Post Tennis Snack Ideas
What pre and post tennis snacks help you play and recover better?
Because tennis is both an endurance and high intensity sport, fueling your body and your game appropriately can require a thoughtful and tailored approach. While each person’s needs are bio-individual, some general recommendations can guide your plan. High quality, easily digestible complex carbohydrates before play increase muscle glycogen stores which tennis players need for endurance and to ward off fatigue during long matches or practice. Low carb foods alone before play are not recommended as they can hinder a player’s ability to maintain high intensity and endurance. Protein rich foods are essential post play to help with muscle recovery, preventing muscle soreness, and rebuilding muscle mass. Without protein for recovery, the body will break down muscle into amino acids for energy.
A high carb snack 30 minutes to 1 hour before play will help provide a steady stream of energy. Examples of appropriate snacks are fruit such as a banana or an apple, a granola bar, or oatmeal with fruit. Keep in mind that a substantial snack can sustain energy levels up to 60-90 minutes, but intense and prolonged matches or practice may warrant continued carb consumption during play. Avoid fat and fiber from nuts, seeds, and greens before practice or a match as they can cause digestive discomfort and disrupt play. They also take longer to digest, which means more energy expenditure, leaving less for play. Stick to easily digestible carbs.
A carb plus protein rich snack within 30 minutes to 1 hour after play will replace glycogen stores and allow muscle recovery. A shake with protein powder, fruit and coconut milk (see our Golden Smoothie recipe), greek yogurt, cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs or turkey jerky with fruit, apple and nut butter, and hummus and carrots are all good options.
Ensuring ample hydration via sports drinks or coconut water, along with snacks, is also key for players, especially post play, to prevent electrolyte imbalances and make up for sweat losses.
We recommend keeping a food journal to track your pre and post game snacks, taking note of how you feel before and after eating and playing. Are your energy levels sufficiently boosted? Do you feel stronger? Is muscle soreness reduced? What foods make you feel best?