Nutrition and Hydration
  • Nutrition Guidelines

    1. Eat 3 meals daily with 2-3 snacks in between.

    2. Athletes need 1-3 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight daily. 

    • Good sources of carbohydrates: organic fruits and vegetables, beans and lentils (also known as legumes), and unrefined whole grains (100% whole grain bread, brown rice, unprocessed oatmeal such as steel-cut oats, and barley)

    3. Athletes need 1.2-2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily, especially during the season. 

    • Good sources of protein: lean meats (beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and fish) and eggs

    4. Athletes need 1 gram of fat per pound of body weight daily, especially to help add muscle mass.

    • Good sources of healthy fats: avocados, cold water fish (tuna, salmon, and mackerel), raw nuts (except peanuts), natural nut butters (peanut and almond), seeds, and some cooking oils (coconut, olive, safflower, and sesame oil)

    5. Athletes need at least 1,000 milligrams of minerals daily (calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, and potassium).

    • Good sources of these minerals: organic dairy products, green leafy vegetables, beans/lentils, fish, raw nuts/seeds, unrefined whole grains, bananas, potatoes, beets, oranges, and peppers

    6. Athletes need at least 100 milligrams of vitamins daily. 

    • Good sources of vitamins: organic fruits and vegetables, unrefined whole grains, lean meats, raw nuts/seeds, organic dairy products, and plant oils

    7. Athletes should drink plenty of water to stay hydrated (1/2 their body weight in ounces daily).

    Game Day

    • Eat at least 2 hours before the event — early enough to digest the food before game time
    • Have plenty of carbs and lean protein and be low in fat, because fat is harder to digest and can cause an upset stomach
    • After game/competition: Your body will be rebuilding muscle tissue and restoring carbs and fluids for up to 24 hours after the competition, so it’s important that you get plenty of protein, fat, and carbs in the postgame hours.
    • Don’t forget to drink plenty of water before, during and after games
    • Foods high in potassium are also recommended, especially post-exercise, to replace electrolytes lost from perspiration. Bananas, yogurt, melons, oranges, strawberries, pears, peaches, grapes, sunflower seeds and walnuts are good choices and easy snacks to pack.

    For up-to-date information on nutritional guidelines for athletes, visit

  • Hydration Guidelines

    Athletes should be educated on the importance of maintaining proper hydration as well as methods available to monitor hydration status. This will help with optimal performance and reduce the risk of heat-related illness.

    Getting ready before physical activity: 

    • Athletes should consume 17-20 ounces of water or sports drink 2-3 hours prior to physical activity  
    • An additional 7-10 ounces should be consumed within 10-20 minutes prior to practices/games

    Keeping up during physical activity:

    • Athletes should consume 7-10 ounces of fluids approximately every 20 minutes of physical activity 
    • Breaks should be scheduled more frequently as the temperature, humidity, or heat index increases
    • Athletes should be provided constant unrestricted access to water or sports drink throughout practices/games

    Recovery after physical activity:

    • Athletes should consume 20 ounces of fluids per pound of body weight lost during physical activity 

    Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration:

    • Dizziness or lightheadedness
    • Fainting
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Cramping
    • Thirst
    • Weakness

    Athletes having any of the above signs and symptoms should consume more fluids and resolve their symptoms prior to further participation.

    Weight Charts: During the heat acclimatization period it is strongly recommended that athletes record their body weight (under supervision) before and after each exercise session.

    Athletes will be designated into “zones” according to the amount of weight lost during physical activity.

    Green Zone: Athletes with less than 1% weight loss versus prior weigh-in. Encourage fluid consumption prior to next session.

    Yellow Zone: Athletes with 1 – 3% weight loss versus prior weigh-in. Encourage fluid consumption of 20 ounces per pound lost and report to the next session within 1% of previous weigh-in.

    Red Zone: Athletes with greater than 4% weight loss versus prior weigh-in. They should be evaluated for heat-related illness and considered significantly dehydrated. They should not be allowed to resume physical activity until they are hydrated or within 1% of their prior weigh-in and they should be monitored and considered at-risk upon their return to play.

    Quick Reminders:

    • Athletes should be encouraged to consume water or sports drink to maximize hydration
    • “Energy” drinks or beverages containing caffeine, alcohol, or carbonation should be discouraged 
    • Urine color charts and other educational material should be posted in the restroom, the athletic training room, and other common areas
    • Athletes need to “look out for each other” if signs and symptoms arise during physical activity
    • Athletes returning from illness or injury should be monitored and given a gradual increase to return to play
    • Athletes taking prescriptions or OTC medications for the treatment of allergies, colds, the flu, sinus infections, or other medical conditions should be encouraged to consume higher amounts of fluids due to the increased dehydration that may occur

    For up-to-date information on hydration, visit the Kori Stringer Institute.