Good nutrition provides strength and stamina during extended practice sessions.

What a Teenager Should Eat Before Baseball Practice

by Stephanie Dube Dwilson

Showing up for baseball practice isn't the only thing necessary to reach your full potential as a ball player. Adequate rest and sound nutrition are also vital to develop the strength and stamina needed to play ball. Good nutrition helps you stay focused and concentrate on the job at hand. Fortunately, good nutrition doesn't require expensive or exotic ingredients, just a little preparation.

1. Timing

Plan to have a meal or hearty snack two to four hours before practice. This gives your body time to start the digestion process, so the food won't upset your stomach, but it is close enough to practice time that you won't run out of energy before your workout is over. For extended workout sessions, take along a light snack, such as fresh or dried fruit, half of a sandwich or some nuts. Daily, plan to eat within an hour of getting out of bed, and try to have something to eat every three to four hours.

2. Choices

Make carbohydrates your main fuel source to provide long-lasting energy. Whole grain bread and cereal are good sources of carbohydrates before baseball practice. Add some protein and fat to round out the meal. Protein sources such as cheese, nuts, eggs and yogurt are nutritionally dense choices. The addition of fat helps you feel full longer, but too much fat can upset your stomach if eaten too close to the time when you're working out. Choosing a protein that is also high in fat, such as nuts, is a good way to balance your pre-practice snack.

3. Calories

It can be a challenge for a teenager to consume all the calories he needs to feel and play his best. An active teenager may need over 3,000 calories each day. Those calories can be hard to fit in if he is in school all day, then heads off for an evening of baseball practice. Making smart food choices helps each calorie provide the most nutritional bang for the buck.

4. Fluids

Food isn't the only important part of the nutritional equation for teenage ball players. Staying hydrated is vital for health and performance. Drinking water throughout the day, including during practice, should be enough to keep most ball players hydrated. However, during long practices or when the weather is particularly warm, sports drinks are a good option.

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