In the diet world these days, it’s become trendy to avoid carbohydrates or at least limit them. And, whether you call it “Atkins,” “the Keto Diet,” or anything in between, the fact remains that carbohydrates are not necessarily the enemy. This is especially true for young athletes, including and especially hockey players, who need the energy that carbohydrates supply.
Why Hockey Players Need Carbs
There are a great many reasons that getting adequate carbohydrates is important for young hockey players. For one thing, carbs supply energy to the muscles, the very muscles that get used during games and practices. Carbohydrates are also easier to break down and can thus be broken down more quickly than protein and fat. This means that, when an athlete needs a quick burst of energy, carbohydrates are the way to go. Carbohydrates and their effects also tend to last for a while in the body, which can help to improve endurance and performance throughout the game. In all of these ways, carbohydrates are a necessary part of any young hockey player’s diet, at least if he’s going to be successful.
What Hockey Players Should be Eating
While carbohydrates are obviously necessary for hockey players, it’s important to remember that not all carbs are created equally! Whenever possible, players should go for complex, healthy carbs, not refined carbs.
The carbohydrates eaten just before a game or practice should also be easily digested, which often means going for lower protein foods. The player should still get plenty of protein later, but it’s not necessary or helpful before hitting the ice.
A few good examples of carb-rich foods to fuel up on include:
· Bagels or toast with peanut butter
· A piece of fruit
· Baked beans
· Hummus with veggies, pretzels, and/or pita chips
· Cereal or granola bars
· Veggie sticks
By following these tips and striving to eat a healthy, balanced diet in general, hockey players can get the carbohydrates they need and stay healthy and fit as well!