We’ve all exercised and at some point felt sick. Have your kids ever told you that their “legs are gone” after a hockey game? Why is that? Food and sport have to be on the same team to win the game. So what to eat?

What you eat before exercise plays an important role in both energy and strength. This is why I talk to nutritionist Stéphanie Morin. “Hockey Mom” and active woman, she tells us what to feed our children before a workout. What are the dietary distinctions 1h, 2h and 3h before a sustained exercise? What foods to avoid? Let’s talk about the “pregame meal”!

hydratation sportif

Hydrate well before a game or a training session

Before even thinking about eating, Stéphanie Morin reminds us of the importance of staying hydrated to have all the energy you need! Have your children drink at least 500 ml of water 2 to 3 hours before a game to prevent them from becoming dehydrated. Dehydration decreases the capacity to exert oneself. It can lead to premature fatigue and even impair performance.

During training, never wait until you are thirsty to drink, as the sensation of thirst is triggered when the body is already dehydrated. Encourage your children to take frequent sips of water. Also, avoid very cold water. Temperate water is fine!

Also, make sure they drink after training to aid recovery.

What to eat before a hockey game?

We don’t really get to choose our kids’ practice times. Especially in hockey! As a parent, we must learn to adapt to the schedule! There is really a distinction to be made in food choices depending on the time of the meal and the exercise. How do you find the balance between overeating and being hungry or lacking energy? Here are some food suggestions based on the time frame of your workout.

More than 3 hours before exercise

If the time between the meal and the game is more than 3 hours, then eat a normal meal with good sources of carbohydrates, protein and vegetables.

  • Carbohydrates: bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, quinoa, barley, etc.
  • Protein: chicken, fish, meat, tofu, legumes, seafood, egg, tempeh, edamame beans, cheese, etc.

Avoid fried foods, very spicy foods or eating a fatty or heavy meal.

For lunch, you can serve your child:

  • 1-2 slices of whole grain toast, 1-2 eggs and a fruit;
  • 1-2 pancakes (5-10 ml maple syrup), a fruit and a glass of milk;
  • Oatmeal with a glass of milk or yogurt and fruit;
  • 1 whole grain bagel with peanut butter and fruit.

manger déjeuner sportif énergie performance sport entrainement santé  manger crêpes et fruits: sport énergie performance entrainement santé

If you do choose cereal, avoid the very sweet and unsupportive kinds that kids love so much. Instead, replace them with a less sweet whole grain cereal. You can also find more ideas for busy mornings!

For lunch or dinner, the choice is yours!

Besides the traditional spaghetti or the famous ” chicken-rice “, here are some other suggestions:

  • Quinoa, vegetables and tofu;
  • Vegetarian chili, pita bread, tortilla or naan;
  • Fish, potatoes and vegetables.

repas sportif   Manger repas glucides protéines: sport énergie performance entrainement santé

Less than 2 hours between meal and workout

The closer you get to exercise, the more you should think about having a small meal or simply a snack.

In this case, favor:

  • Carbohydrates, such as fruit, grain products, milk, yogurt;
  • A little protein;
  • Little fat.

Foods to avoid

Really avoid fatty, fried and high-protein foods because they take longer to digest. Therefore, chips, french fries, poutine, pizza, croquettes, pogos, au gratin, commercial pastries (muffins, doughnuts, cakes, buns) should be avoided!

You should also avoid eating too much protein (meat, poultry, fish, cheese, tofu, legumes, nuts/seeds).

Examples of meals to eat less than 2 hours before exercise:

  • 1 fruit or unsweetened fruit compote, 1 slice of bread and 30g of cheese (less than 20% M.F.);
  • ½ cup pasta, ½ cup vegetables and 1 to 2 ounces of protein (chicken, fish or tofu);
  • ½ egg and chicken sandwich and ½ cup of raw vegetables;
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, 1 cup of lettuce and a tortilla roll

dejeuner sportif  Manger repas sportif : glucides sport énergie performance entrainement santé

If the delay is 1 hour or less

Then prioritize a light snack, rich in carbohydrates, but containing little protein.

Example of a recommended snack:

  • 1 glass of chocolate milk;
  • Fruit or plain yogurt and fruit;
  • A sustaining fruit, like a banana;
  • A 100% pure fruity juice with no added sugar.

   lait au chocolat smoothie boisson sport énergie performance entrainement collation santé      Collation banane fruit glucide performance sport entraînement hockey effort physique

Should kids eat after practice?

Yes, after a game or practice, your child needs to replenish the energy in their muscles and promote muscle repair. Offer a snack or meal, ideally within 30 minutes of exercise.

Here are some other examples of snacks:

  • Chocolate milk;
  • Cereals and milk;
  • Milkshake or smoothie;
  • Healthy Muffin;
  • Vegetable juices and healthy crackers;
  • Mixture of dried fruits and nuts.

muffin santé   smoothie


This advice also applies to adolescents and adults. In this case, adjust the quantities accordingly. As far as alcohol is concerned, it is best to avoid it the day before and before the game. This will give you more energy! To find other nutrition tips, don’t hesitate to consult our previous articles..

Have a great season and enjoy!