Once the baseline eating plan is established, fine tuning of the player's eating pattern should be planned appropriate to their needs and goals. The optimum base diet for all sports people is one which is high in carbohydrates and low in fat, and which provides sufficient protein, nutrients and energy content.
Players should consider the increased energy requirements of training, as many do not meet their recommended energy intake. This results in reduced training levels, training intensity, and endurance.
Remember everyone is an individual with their own particular likes and dislikes. To be effective, nutritional advice should be easily incorporated into the player's current eating pattern.
Drastic changes are not recommended as they may cause discomfort and create problems with compliance. Make any changes gradually.
A Sample One Day Meal Plan For A Rugby Player
• Natural muesli with fresh or canned fruit in juice, juice and yoghurt/low fat milk
• Protein rich fruit smoothy (300ml trim milk, pottle yoghurt, 3Tbsp trim milk powder, banana, drizzle honey-blend
• Wholegrain toast with 2 poached eggs, baked beans and a glass of fruit juice
• Hot oats made with trim milk and a piece of fruit or juice
If travelling, pack a combination of fresh fruit, milk drinks or fruit juice carton with yoghurt, cereal bars, creamed rice or sandwiches
• Dried fruit and raw nuts OR
• Wholegrain crackers with tuna OR
• Yoghurt and fresh fruit OR
• MILO with low fat milk
• Wholegrain bread rolls or wrap filled with hummus, lean meat/canned fish and salad ingredients OR
• Pasta/rice with tuna and vegetables
Add a piece of fruit and/or yoghurt to each option
• Good snacks one hour prior to training may include sandwiches, fruit toast with peanut butter and jam, yoghurt or milky MILO with a banana, muesli bars or fruit. Try a smoothy 1-2 hours before if you struggle to train with food in your stomach
DURING AFTERNOON TRAINING
• Have a bottle of water on hand. You may need a sports drink if training for over 90 minutes
• After intense training consume some carbohydrates immediately e.g. sports drink, jelly beans, pikelet, crumpet, white roll, ripe banana
• To improve recovery, it is recommended to consume some protein circa 20 minutes after finishing training e.g. pottle of yoghurt, glass of milk, milk-based smoothie. Especially when your next meal is more than 1 hour away.
• Lean meat or chicken and vegetables with pasta and tomato-based sauce
• Steamed or grilled fish with homemade wedges and salad
• Lean meat or chicken and vegetable stir fry with rice or noodles
• Lean steak, potatoes and 3 vegetables or salad
• Milk-based pudding and fruit
• Fresh fruit and yoghurt
• Protein rich smoothy
This meal plan is an example only and not intended for individual purposes. This should be altered to suit individual energy requirements depending on age, gender and training load. For those who train at an elite level and/or twice or more a day additional pre training snacks and post training recovery food/drinks will be required.
Contact a Sports Dietitian for guidance.