Ideal carb-loading breakfast and perfect pre-game lunch
The main nutrition target before a big game is to have fuel stores (glycogen) full and to be well hydrated.
The meals leading up to a game should be high in carbohydrate, contain a moderate source of protein and be low in fat and fibre.
This is to allow for larger intakes of carbohydrate to ensure the athlete is comfortably able to meet their carbohydrate target.
High fibre or fat intakes in particular can sometimes impede carb intake or cause stomach distress.
For team sport athletes playing a competitive game of more than 60 minutes the carbohydrate requirement is more than six grams of carbohydrate per kg body mass. This is more than 500g of carbohydrate for an 85kg athlete.
Below are two recipes that the Leinster players regularly have during the carbohydrate load phase before a game to meet their fuelling targets.
Breakfast - Granola
Granola is a simple and tasty breakfast option for players looking to fuel up the day before a big game. Homemade granola varieties can be made to suit your specific needs, ie, more oats, dried fruit and honey if you want to fuel up on carbs.
3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. buckwheat
2 Tbsp. mixed nuts
3 Tbsp. sliced almonds
2 Tbsp. pumpkin seed
1 tsp. cinnamon
100g dried fruit mix
2 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil
1. Mix all dry ingredients, except for the dried fruit in a large bowl.
2. Add honey, olive oil and melt the coconut oil into the mixture
3. Place the granola mix in a pre-heated oven and cook at 200°C for 15 minutes.
4. After 15 minutes remove the granola, add in the dried fruit, mix and bake for another 10 minutes until the mixture is a light brown colour.
5. Remove from oven, cool, serve.
Lunch - Baked Potatoes with Eggs
Baked potato is a great carb-loading lunch idea for athletes. It is tasty, high in carbohydrate and easy to digest, making it a great pre-game fuelling option.
2 large potatoes
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp. of butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated
1. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 5, 190°C (375°F).
2. Place the potatoes in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until they are tender.
3. Scoop enough potato out of the top of each potato to create a medium sized hole for the eggs.
4. Add in a knob of butter and season with salt and pepper.
5. Crack an egg into a small dish, then gently pour the egg into the area you scooped out, do the same with the second egg.
6. Place the potatoes back in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the egg is cooked to desired liking.
7. Add a little more salt, pepper and parmesan and serve.
Further recipes and nutritional advice from Daniel Davey is available at @foodflicker on facebook and Twitter.