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Athlete's Compare Precompetition Meals

Hailey Milliken, Staff

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Basketball: Nia Daniels, 11

Before the game, junior Nia Daniels prefers to keep it light.

“I’m really weird, and I try not to eat before the game, like three hours ahead or so. I don’t want to eat too much and not perform well during the game,” said Daniels.

When she is in the mood for food, she likes healthy snacks to energize her. She said she chooses citrusy foods and other fruits over actual meals. Daniels relies specifically on Cuties clementines for a good game.

Oranges and orange juice provide a sustainable amount of carbohydrates and water, but they can also lower your risk for fatigue and dehydration after intense exercise, according to Colorado State University.

Football: Keagan Kooi, 10

Relying heavily on food, football has a tradition of eating a carb-packed meal together before games.

“The food makes sure that we are not hungry or getting tired during the game for sure. I think most importantly, the meal isn’t something that will upset our stomachs but instead makes us feel ready to go play,” said sophomore Keagan Kooi.

He said the team will usually eat things like pasta and chicken to fill them up and keep them energized before going into competition.

Carbohydrates are an important source of energy for the physically challenging sport of football. According to the Mayo Clinic, carbs should account for about 45 to 65 percent of their daily caloric intake in order to play at their best.

Girls’ Swim: Makenna Williams, 9

Before diving in, swimmers depend on meals full of protein to have a successful race.

“My old coach used to tell us that every meal needs to include fruits, vegetables, carbs and some type of protein. Protein helps us gain muscle, and those carbs will be our fuel during our races,” said freshman Makenna Williams.

On top of that, she avoids sugar and coffee before races to allow herself to compete at the best of her ability. The side effects of sugar on an athlete can be especially harmful before competition. A study named Effects of Caffeine on Athletic Performance and on the Human Bodyfrom Rice University shows that caffeine can lead to higher levels of dehydration and cramping in the athlete’s body.

Girls’ Wrestling: Lexi Hatfield, 9

After weighing in, freshman Alexis Hatfield has an array of foods to hold her over through a dual or tournament.

“Bagels are a good thing to start off with in the morning for me, but then I’ll probably snack on apples and celery later during the tournament,” said Hatfield.

She said that these foods will lead her to a good performance throughout the day. A benefit from the foods she eats is the energy and stabilization of blood sugar you can gain from apples. Additionally, celery can help joint pain and be used as a defense against exhaustion according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Boys’ Basketball: Rodney Williams, 10

Before a match, junior Rodney Williams prefers quality over quantity,

“I don’t need anything big but lots of water and protein bars are important for me to have enough energy to play,” said Williams.

Protein and hydration are two main ingredients to a healthy and successful athlete. Body maintenance, repair, and growth of lean muscle are just a few things that depend on proteinaccording to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Most importantly, water is the fuel for any athletic performance. The AFPA (American Fitness Professionals and Associates) said performance can be compromised by even light changes in hydration status.

Boys’ Wrestling: Myles Howard, 11

Photos By Makanani Grace

For a day full of wrestling, some wrestlers enjoy a certain drink over a hefty meal,

“Gatorade and small snacks are what I like to eat before games to give me that extra boost,” said junior Myles Howard.

With valuable electrolytes, Gatorade is a big part of a lot of athletes’ lives during the season.

Graphics by Autumn Adams

The NCAA even said sports drinks are designed to rehydrate, provide energy and replenish the body’s electrolytes, especially sodium, which is lost through sweating. On top of all that, drinks like Gatorade also contain carbs which is a valuable source of energy. During a long period of exercising, it’s important to replace what was lost while sweating and, according to Penn State University, Gatorade does just that.