Eating before a match is an important part of being a successful athlete. No matter if a match is over in three sets or goes five sets, here are some fueling tips to make sure your body is ready to keep playing through the end.

Why is eating pre-match important?

  1. Ensures you will have energy to play the entire game
  2. Provides energy for your brain; allows for quick thinking on the court

What nutrients should you aim to include in the pre-match meal or snack?

  • Carbohydrates: Fuel muscle contraction; primary focus of the meal
  • Protein: Maintain muscle mass; moderate amount
  • Fat: Important for satiety; a small to moderate amount

Tips for Choosing Pre-match Meals and Snacks

WhenFood FocusWhyHow Much?Tips
Three hours before matchCarbs: bread, pasta, rice, starchy veggies, etc.
Protein: chicken, turkey, tofu, etc.
Fat: avocado, peanut butter, etc.Ex:

  • Pasta with chicken, veggies, marinara sauce
  • Burrito bowl with rice, chicken, lettuce, salsa, cheese
Three hours will allow plenty of time for digestion prior to the start of the matchLarge meal that leaves you feeling full, but not stuffedAvoid fiber rich foods, too much fat, and spicy foods that might cause GI stress
One hour before matchCarbs
Small amount of protein

  • PB&J sandwich
  • Fruit smoothie
A carb rich snack will top off muscle glycogen stores, making sure you are fully fueled for a matchSnack sized. As you get closer to match time, taper size of food intakeTry a smoothie! Liquids are easy to digest and will not leave you feeling too full before a match. Try our smoothie recipe below!
During matchCarbs


  • fruit
  • gummies
  • gels
  • granola bar
Carbs are easy to digest and will provide quick energy during a matchSmall amountStock to foods you have tried in practice

Multiple matches in a day? No sweat!

Eating between matches serves as both a recovery meal and a pre-game meal.

  • Food focus: Carbohydrates and protein
  • Why? Carbs are important to replenish the glycogen used in the previous match, and protein helps to preserve muscle mass.


  • When choosing a meal, stick with foods that you know work well for you.
  • Don’t try new foods on game days.
  • Just because something works for your teammate does not mean it will work well for you; have your own game plan!

Green Tropical Smoothie

Makes one smoothie

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 small handful spinach

Nutrition: 280 kcal, 60g carbs, 13g protein

Instructions: Layer ingredients into blender, starting with the orange juice. Blend until thoroughly combined. Drink at least one hour prior to warm-ups.