What to Eat the Night Before a Game?

What should I eat the night before a game?

Great question! I get this question from athletes all the time or from parents or coaches concerned about educating their athletes.

What to eat the night before any competition or event depends on many factors.  Read on as I provide guidance for sports like ice hockey, soccer, lacrosse, basketball, lacrosse, American football, and track, and field.

 

It’s actually more important to be cognizant of what you’re eating and drinking in the days leading up to your game or competition. (Learn more here)

 

 

 

 

 


 

Avoid making common mistakes on intense training days or on competition days.

  • Fried foods
  • Spicy foods
  • New foods
  • High-fat foods
  • Consuming high-fat or high-fiber right before activity

 

 


My five tips to keep in mind when thinking about the night before game day

1. What you eat the night before any competition should be practiced in advance. I can’t stress this enough.

If you try new foods you could end up getting sick with stomach pain, cramping, or digestion issues, the meal could negatively affect your sleep, and ultimately end up disrupting your performance the next day.

Our clients and athletes learn through our coaching sessions that the meals and snacks consumed leading up to the event have a greater influence on performance than the meal consumed the night before.

2. Limit oils, too much fiber, and high-fat cuts of meat that take a great deal of time to digest and can prevent you from properly fueling up with carbs.

Too much fiber can also cause GI distress  Your goal is to fill up glycogen (the storage form of carbohydrates).

3. Avoid consuming fried foods, heavily processed foods, dressings, sauces, and spicy foods.

Fuel up with a high-quality lean protein source paired with some fruit, complex carbohydrates, and veggies. You want to have a balanced plate ultimately containing foods from all food groups. (Full day of eating) *Example menu2

 


Meals to consume the night before game day

  • Grilled chicken sandwich on a whole-grain bun with veggies, 1-2 cups whole-grain rice, mixed berries fruit cup, and low-fat chocolate milk
  • Lean ground turkey meatballs, whole-grain pasta, watermelon slices, 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt + pineapple slices
  • Deli ham or deli turkey sub with a side of pretzels, apple, and low-fat chocolate milk
  • Whole-grain burrito or burrito bowl with lean flank steak, brown rice, grilled veggies, and a small serving of guacamole (keep fat light)
  • For plant-based athletes, grilled tofu, chickpeas, brown rice, tomatoes, mixed greens, a side of grapes, and a light dressing paired with 1-2 whole-grain rolls
  • 93% Lean ground beef burgers on whole-grain bread or in pita wrap paired with a side salad, raspberries, and low-fat milk.
  • Whole-grain rice bowl with grilled shrimp or lean flank steak tossed in roasted broccoli with diced avocado (keep it light 1 tbsp) and fresh fruit
  • Roasted sweet potato with lean ground turkey or tofu in a whole grain wrap with hummus and blueberries
  • 1-2 Whole-grain chicken wrap with beans, spinach, tomato, mashed  hummus, and fruit

4. Have a small snack of protein + carb 45-60 min before bed  (see more ideas here ) **Be sure to also practice out these foods to ensure you know they won’t make you sick.

Image5. Get a minimum of 7-9 hours of sleep! (consequences of poor sleep & athletic performance 

Consume a casein-rich snack like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, or string cheese paired with an apple or banana.

The casein (slow digesting dairy protein) will help repair and rebuild muscle while at rest.

A small serving of carbohydrates will top off the fuel tank roughly 45-60 min before bed.

Avoid caffeine, spicy foods, and fried foods.

Cherries and bananas have also been shown to support restful sleep. Cherries are a natural source of melatonin which helps you fall asleep.

Bananas are a great source of magnesium which is a mineral aiding in muscle relaxation. The perfect combo to help your muscles relax, recover, and for you to sleep well before your big game or competition!

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NO NEW FOODS THE NIGHT BEFORE A GAME OR ON GAME DAY! I can’t stress this enough!

  • Practice foods and meals you want to eat the night before a game a week before to know “it works and feels good for you”.
  • Focus on getting 7-9 hours of sleep and have a small protein + carb snack before bed.
  • You can’t expect to perform are your best if you have not been consistently consuming balanced meals and snacks leading into game day.
  • You’ll have to plan ahead with balanced meals using my plate method. For additional ideas, check out my meal and snack guidance which also explains my “4-2-1” method.
  • In the days leading up to your competition prioritize plenty of lean protein and complex carbohydrates to provide you with the fuel you need.
  • You can’t perform like a beast if you eat like a bird (additional snack ideas!

Performance Nutrition (1) (download for the 4-2-1 game day timing)

GOOD LUCK and don’t forget to have fun!


What are the benefits of partnering with Nutrition with Wendi to help you with your performance or recovery?Image

” Wendi has helped me feel better going into games and camps and has assisted with my weight gain goal. I have gained a solid 10 lbs since we started working together and I have more energy during practice and training. My muscles aren’t as sore after games either.”

 

 

 


The Nutrition with Wendi team utilizes evidence-based science to tailor nutrition programs for athletes to optimize performance, minimize health risks, and enhance recovery from training while focusing on injury prevention. We partner with parents, sports performance staff, and special needs and recreational athletes to offer nutritional guidance and optimal athletic performance and lifestyle plans. We provide virtual services including telehealth but are based in Nashville, TN. Follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for more nutrition information. Service

Iron Deficiency: Fast Facts You Need to Know

Iron Deficiency: Fast Facts You Need to Know

Iron is a mineral that the body needs to grow and develop. Iron helps make healthy red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout the body. Iron is critical for normal immune function. Iron is the structural component of hundreds of essential molecules. Iron assists antioxidant enzymes.

  • Iron deficiency is the number one nutritional deficiency in the United States. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) II. iron deficiency occurs in approximately 11% of women,1-2% of all adults, and in approximately 12.5% of athletes.

 

  • It is the No. 1 cause of anemia in athletes. Iron deficiency rates (with or without anemia) in athletes range from 20-50% in women and 4-50% in men.

 

  • Iron deficiency anemia occurs when the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells due to a lack of iron in the body.

Two forms of dietary iron

  • Heme iron is better absorbed than nonheme iron; the absorption of nonheme iron is enhanced by vitamin C. 


  • National dietary surveys indicate that iron is under-consumed by adolescent and premenopausal females.

 

 

 

 


Iron recommendations vary between adults and teens

 


What causes iron deficiency

  • Iron losses occur from blood loss in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, microscopic losses in urine, hemolysis of red blood cells (RBC) breakdown, menstrual cycle, sweat loss, and intense exercise. 

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, Advil, and naproxen deplete iron and folate. Frequent use of medications with GI side effects such as aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or naproxen can cause or worsen iron deficiency.

 

  • Physical activity particularly high intensity and endurance types increase iron losses by as much as 70% when compared to sedentary populations. Athletes lose more iron due to heavy sweating as well as increased blood loss in the urine and GI tract.

 

Causes range from a variety of health issues to simply overtraining or even lack sleep.  Any athlete that experiences a decrease in training or performance coupled with symptoms should seek out their primary care doctor for further testing and analysis.


Signs and symptoms of low iron

Weakness, fatigue, decreased physical endurance, feeling hot or cold, diminished immune response, alterations in energy levels, cognitive performance, and overall behavior.  Iron deficiency is not the only cause of these common symptoms.  

 

 

 

 


Food sources

Iron in meat, fish, and eggs is easily absorbed by the body but the iron in plant sources is attached to phytates that bind iron in foods.

Following a plant-based diet and limiting animal iron sources can be a challenge. As a practitioner, I meet the client where they are at but do share that consuming animal protein will offer greater iron to support their health and performance goals.

 


Guidance on increasing iron as a plant-based athlete

  • Pair leafy greens (bok choy, kale, spinach) with a source of vitamin c (broccoli, strawberries, bell peppers, and kiwi) –This can increase the absorption by up to 67%! (3)

 

  • Cooking food in cast iron or stainless steel cookware also aids in iron absorption (cook all veggies and protein in the cast iron skillet)

 

  • Eat more beans, lentils, edamame, baked potatoes, and Iron-fortified oatmeal (higher sources of iron).
    • Lima beans
    • Red beans
    • Kidney beans
  • Drink tea or coffee separately from an iron-containing meal or snacks. Caffeine inhibits iron absorption.
  • Additional ways to combine vitamin C-rich foods with beans
    • Drain a can of pineapple cubes and add them to canned baked beans
    • Toss cooked black beans with shredded cabbage in your favorite coleslaw recipe
    • Sauté red peppers and onions in olive oil and stir into the white navy or Great Northern beans (cast iron pan)
    • Add any type of cooked beans to a spinach or kale salad with pineapple or fruit

Add fatty fish into your diet 1x/week (3 oz of salmon) or oysters (also a rich source of iron)!!

    • Blend up leafy greens and fruits rich in vitamin C with your smoothies (you can even add beans – I promise it is a neutral taste)
    • Eat more lean red meat, chicken, seafood, beans, lentils, edamame, baked potatoes, and Iron-fortified oatmeal (higher sources of iron).
  • Sauté red peppers and onions in olive oil and stir into the white navy or Great Northern beans (cast iron pan)
  • In a skillet prepare steak, spinach, or collard greens paired with berries (best way to increase iron)

 

 

 

 


When young athletes or adults we start with simple guidance to help increase iron

  • Set meal goals: 4 oz of flank steak 2-3 x/week paired with leafy greens
  • Snack idea: A side of roasted chickpeas paired with pineapple
  • Snack idea 2: A 1/2 cup of mixed berries paired with fortified oatmeal

Before taking an iron supplement to correct an iron deficiency you should contact your physician and work with a dietitian to raise iron levels properly. It is best to work closely with a dietitian to ensure you or your young athlete is getting the proper amount if iron to avoid health and performance consequences. We have worked with hundreds of teen athletes and plant-based adults that have struggled with low iron. We can help you too! Contact us for student-athlete coaching or for a virtual presentation for your sports team.

 

In good faith, health, and athletic performance,

 

Wendi Irlbeck, MS,RDN,LD,CISSN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Citations and resources to learn more:

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) II.

 

Hurrell, R., & Egli, I. (2010). Iron bioavailability and dietary reference values. The American journal of clinical nutrition91(5), 1461S–1467S. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2010.28674F

 

Goldstein, J. L., Chan, F. K., Lanas, A., Wilcox, C. M., Peura, D., Sands, G. H., Berger, M. F., Nguyen, H., & Scheiman, J. M. (2011). Hemoglobin decreases in NSAID users over time: an analysis of two large outcome trials. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 34(7), 808–816. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2011.04790.x

 

Hallberg, L., & Hulthén, L. (2000). Prediction of dietary iron absorption: an algorithm for calculating absorption and bioavailability of dietary iron. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 71(5), 1147–1160. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/71.5.1147

 

Koehler, et al.  Iron status in elite young athletes: gender-dependent influences of diet and exercise.  Eur J. Appl Physiology, 2011.

7 Simple Tips for Staying Hydrated

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Are you hydrating enough? Most likely not! According to the USDA, over half the US adults fail to consume their recommended minimum of 6-8 glasses of water each day.

Last week Wendi shared simple hydration tips on Fox17 Nashville. Click to hear her tips provided.

Failing to consume enough water can also increase your risk of heart failure. It is important to stay hydrated for basic philological functions supporting blood circulation, lubricating joints and tissues, digestion, metabolism, and muscle contraction to name a few.

 

Many people need more than 6-8 glasses of water due to higher body weight, activity, sweat rate, and also supporting a healthy metabolism. We recommend our clients and athletes consume a minimum of 80-100 oz of water per day. We advise checking urine color to help guide you in your water intake. If you struggle to drink enough water you have come to the right place! Our tips will help you increase your water with ease!

 

 

First off what are the symptoms of dehydration? Usually, when you wake up you are in a dehydrated state and for many who experience these symptoms listed below you are already dehydrated and it is time to make a plan!Image

Follow Wendi on Twitter for more graphics and tips


 

Water is the MOST important FREE health significantly underrated performance enhancement supplement. If you’re an athlete check out my hydration blog with Simplifaster here.

1. Wake up and drink water by placing a glass of water or water bottle by your bed.  This strategy will enable you to have zero barriers to getting your hydration started for the day! Focus on consuming 10-16 oz upon waking. Especially if you are an athlete or working outdoors.

2. Set alarms on your phone to hydrate with 16 oz every few hours to shoot for a total goal of 100-120 oz per day (especially if you are an athlete or working outdoors). Another easy way to get in more water is to say 50 oz by 1 pm and another 50 oz by 7 pm!
3. Carry a water bottle or hydro flask that you can easily set water goals. I.e. 32 oz is a typical hydro flask that you can consume 3x/day.
4. Eat your hydration. Yes, that is right we can attain fluid and minerals from our fruit and veggies! Watermelon, grapes, berries, cucumbers, celery, carrots, cherries, and tomatoes are also super hydrating and a great way to get in your veggies for health too! You can also infuse your water with berries, lemon, lime, etc. which makes it tastier and offers antioxidants.
5. Electrolytes can be used to replace minerals lost in sweat. Dairy is also hydrating you could add Greek yogurt, milk, or cheese to meals to get in additional minerals. Cherry juice, chocolate milk, or Gatorade zero can also be a good option depending on your goals for added hydration.
6. Bring a cooler with you to stock with fruits and veggies. You can also pack additional water bottles to make sure you have enough fluid on hand in case of an emergency!
7. Hydrate with milk at meals and water in between! These tips help my clients and athletes stay hydrated! It is also important to consume 16-24 oz of fluid for every pound lost!

 

Stay hydrated out there and don’t forget to follow us on social media for more tips!

 

Wendi Irlbeck, MS, RDN, LD, CISSN

Wendi Irlbeck, is a registered dietitian nutritionist, and performance coach. Wendi utilizes evidence-based science to tailor nutrition programs for athletes to optimize performance, minimize health risks, and enhance recovery from training while focusing on injury prevention. She partners with parents, sports performance staff, and special needs and recreational athletes to offer nutritional guidance and optimal athletic performance and lifestyle plans. She is a former cross country runner, college softball player, figure competitor, and avid weight-lifter who still enjoys a good race from time to time. Wendi provides virtual services including telehealth but is based in Nashville, TN.

 

You can also follow Wendi on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for more nutrition information. Service

Macronutrients 101

Many have no idea what a serving of fat, carbohydrate, or protein is. So here’s a quick 101 on our macronutrients that include fat, carbohydrate, and protein!

Teens and adults who want to be healthy and successful long-term should understand the role and function of each essential nutrition along with the amount it should be consumed for energy.

There are six essential nutrients that include our macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and protein that provide us with energy in the form of calories), and the other three nutrients that do not provide calories but are also essential for life include vitamins, minerals, and water.


🥯Carbs are important. Why? Carbs = muscle and brain fuel and if you’re too full to get your carbs in your energy and performance will suffer. ⚠️ That’s why it’s important to work with a dietitian to find the right balance of nutrients. 👊

Many want to go keto but I discourage it…Carbs are the optimal fuel for athletes..why?👇👇👇

🥑Fat cannot:

❌Restore depleted glycogen

❌Athletes who adapt to⬆️fat need⬆️need more oxygen to convert fat➡️energy

❌Replace ATP w/in working cells as quickly or efficiently as carbohydrates.

Please keep eating 🍠carbohydrates for the sake of your health, well-being, energy levels, and athletic performance.


On an individual level, ideal fat intake person to person depends on so many factors.. i.e.
📌Body weight
📌Activity & goals
📌Total calories
📌Health status/ailments/genetic risk factors

 

 

 

 


 

So many asked about protein for kids… specifically 🤷‍♀️How much protein to feed teen and adult athletes?

It depends but it is important to start with a baseline:

📌25-30 g of protein for biological girls/meal
📌30-40 g of protein for biological boys/meal
📌10-15 g of protein at snacks for both teen girls and teen boys.

 


I recommend using the performance plate model to avoid worrying about counting calories as an athlete or busy adult. If you stick with your portions for weight management, muscle gain, or fat loss you’ll be set. Just remember that  ALL meals matter!!

Under eating and underfueling will not serve you.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Wendi Irlbeck, MS, RDN, LD, CISSN is a registered dietitian nutritionist, and performance coach. Wendi utilizes evidence-based science to tailor nutrition programs for athletes to optimize performance, minimize health risks, and enhance recovery from training while focusing on injury prevention. She partners with parents, sports performance staff, and special needs and recreational athletes to offer nutritional guidance and optimal athletic performance and lifestyle plans. Wendi provides virtual services including telehealth but is based in Nashville, TN. Wendi works with clients of all levels and ages across the US as well as Canada and the UK. You can find more about Wendi and schedule an appointment with her on her website.

Testimonials of Wendi’s expertise from colleges, coaches, parents, young athletes, and high school administrators can be found at the testimonial link on her website. You can also follow Wendi on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for more nutrition information. Service

Be Bold in Your Faith

“Blessed are those who believe without seeing.” John 20:29

Buckle up as I vulnerably share a neat interaction that led to me meeting a new friend and fellow believer! Just a quick note that I have previously authored four Christian-focused blogs on my website. Not many people will read the blogs as most people come to my page for nutrition, health, and fitness but for that one person who may be lifted up by my sharing the gospel or my Christian faith is well worth the time spent writing this up. Writing is also therapeutic. Anyway, on with it…

 

You must be bold with your faith because you never know who is inspired to turn closer to Jesus and away from satan by you vocalizing your love for Christ. “many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)

 

Last Thursday at my local YMCA in TN I hit the treadmill to warm up before lifting. When I finished and turned to clean my treadmill and depart for the weights, I saw a man with an awesome t-shirt advocating for science which I obviously appreciated. The man’s t-shirt read, “science does not care about your feelings.” That is a cool shirt and I love that shirt because I am an evidence-based dietitian. This man and I had a great 2–3-minute conversation near the treadmills about how science matters so much for both of our professions. I asked his name, and I will never forget it but for sake of ann9ominty I will leave it out of this blog but you can believe I am praying for him.

The man expressed he holds a Ph.D. In chemistry.  He learned I was an RDN and said, “you do have a lot of science courses in your training as well.” Yes, we most certainly do! We got on the topic of faith somehow as most people who are so into science often lack a belief in Jesus Christ. The man expressed he was a non-believer. He said, “you can’t prove Jesus is real and said the bible was just some unproven book.” My heart sank but I respect others’ opinions especially since I was a former non-believer who said God did not exist in my days before I became a true follower of Christ in 2012.

The man was shocked to learn I was a Christian and very strong in my faith as a follower. He asked, “why do you believe in something you can’t prove miss science-based dietitian?” I said with conviction and enthusiasm, “Great question but here’s the deal since you asked. I can’t see the wind or the heat but I can feel it. I can certainly feel the hot temps and as a result lots of dry grass and crops. I can also see the trees moving and I know that is the wind even though I can’t see it there is a byproduct of those things we “can’t see”.  Just like how Christ works miracles we can’t see the moving parts but we can see the result. A child from my hometown surviving a freak accident in the water he should have died but was revived by the Lord. Many other miracles have happened in my life that I could not see Jesus but I am alive because of Him and that is why I stand firm in my faith.

We walk by faith, not by sight. I look around and see miracles even though I can’t tangibly see Jesus. That is what true faith is.

 

I did also interject that the bible is not a book of stories but it is the biography of Jesus. There is also physical evidence of Roman crucifixions that Jesus described in the New Testament.  Furthermore, I know God is with me even when I can’t “see Him” I can most certainly feel Him and I see the miracles He works all around us. I told the man Jesus loved Him and I will pray He comes to know the Lord someday because it makes things so much easier. It is also comforting knowing earth is not our home and that heaven is. He asked me what was in heaven? I expressed I am not sure but I know for certain there is no death, disease, hate, war, racism, or sin, and we celebrate with our King in paradise without any worries, unlike on earth. It is our eternal home and that gives me hope in this broken world. Jesus is coming back and I would rather spend my entire life trusting and following His guidance and find out He does not exist than get to the end of my life without following Him only to learn of His existence when He comes back. The man argued I could not prove of Jesus or of His return and I said that is okay. It is not my job to push you to do anything.

I used to be a nonbeliever too. I just want you to know that Jesus loves you and when you are ready or willing He wants to have a relationship with you. I said as a non-believer I hated it when people pushed God on me. I won’t ever push faith on anyone but if a firefighter pulled you out of a burning building you would want to share that with the world praising them and thanking them because of how joyful you are That is exactly what I have felt since accepting Jesus as my savior in 2012. He saved me and I can’t keep quiet about that. I am a sinner who needs a savior and He makes my life better. The man actually told me to be quiet and to leave him alone. For you as a follower of mine on social media or a stranger coming to my page you will learn I am so outgoing I am not offended by someone telling me no. You also know how kind I am and that him saying this did not hurt me because a women next door overheard us.. She was an 82-year-old woman who was almost in tears listening to me talk about Jesus. She asked me about my faith and testimonial, and we bonded over how good God is. She said she could feel and see the Holy Spirit as she peered into the room to witness this conversation. I literally had no intention of talking to the guy behind me in the gym but somehow we had a dialogue that prompted me to feel God more than ever.

 

Had I not had that conversation with that man I would not have met my new friend Julia who has a grandson that is studying nutrition at the University of Tennessee. She said her grandson needs some mentorship so here we are. I made a new friend who said my faith encouraged her and her words of affirmation helped me see how important the work I do as a RDN is even when I feel like it isn’t. Julia and I exchanged contact information and she will be joining the women’s bible study group that I am starting with a new friend. She said it’s hard to run a business in these times and gave me some good wisdom on ignoring the enemy who is trying to distract and bring me down from helping people. Julia was shocked to learn that I am only 31 YO and reminded me the Lord has beautiful plans for my future as a dietitian and thought leader. She also said she would pray for the prosperity of my business during these hard times. God is good. We are at spiritual warfare right now and if you stay quiet because you are afraid to offend someone sharing the gospel you need to ask for God to give you the courage.

 

So, Christians, be bold in your faith you never know who is listening or watching. It is not our job to convert people to following Christ, but it is our job to not be fearful of sharing our love for Jesus and what He has done for us. We are ambassadors of heaven. This is a vulnerable blog expressing how important it is to encourage one another in faith and to be kind living a life that is centered on Christ. Thank you for reading this. Thank you for following my pages and investing in our business. I also appreciate all of the messages, mail, and random notes I get about how bold I am in my faith and how it inspires others. That means more than you know. Especially as a non-believer, I can’t express how much God has helped me reach this point in life to work and help so many other people.

 

God is good. God defeated satan. Keep your eyes on the Lord and the blessings ahead. Please follow my personal IG devotions with wendi page. For those that want to attend the local women’s bible study in Brentwood, TN please send me an email so we can give you the details to join us.

Soft reminder last summer I posted my blog, “The Sixty Dollar Effect “ in which I share how God-provisions if you’re willing to trust Him. Please go read it along with Jesus Does Not Need a Perfect You but a Health You, because that’s what my life’s purpose is for.

My purpose is to serve God and glorify Him which I do through my work as a dietitian, speaker, and writer. I help men and women live healthier lives along with our youth so that they can be healthy ambassadors of heaven. We all play a role in Kingdom work.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you. ” Luke 12:22 God has made miracles out of some major messes in my life that would have broken me had I not had God as my foundation. When we are in need we have two choices, turn away from God or turn towards God.  Turning towards God means spending time in solitude with Him, reading the bible, and attending worship instead of trying to be self-sufficient.

If you’re interested in a daily devotional, Please be sure to follow my personal IG account Devotions with Wendi

Your sister in Christ,

Wendi A. Irlbeck