Nutrition is just as important as training when it comes to on-ice performance.
As an elite hockey player, you need to fuel your body with nutrient dense whole foods to ensure you’re consistently fueling your body for peak performance.
Meal preparation is the key strategy that allows hockey players to stay on track with their nutrition and make sure they’re getting high quality meals into the busy hockey schedule. With the schedule of running out the door to practices or being on the road 5 days a week, many hockey players have the goal to eat better - find it challenging to find the time to cook a high quality meal.
So, how do you become a master of meal prep? Follow these 5 steps to simplify and cut time spent in the kitchen in half and ensure you’re fueling your performance on the ice:
- Cut all of your veggies in advance. If you’re cutting vegetables for one dish, dice and slice them for all future dishes. It’s easier to eat your vegetables on a daily basis when you don’t have to wash and cut them every time you want to eat them. Enjoy making scrambled eggs in the morning? Why not add some pre-chopped vegetables to the mix?
- Prepare 3-4 days worth of meals. Pre-plan what meals you would like to eat for the next few days, buy in bulk and cook enough meals to last. Get excited about what meals you want to eat for the next few days and prepare in one go! Cook now, enjoy later!
- Simplify your meals. Buy one protein source to be used for both lunch and dinner and incorporate into two different style dishes. Use the same vegetables for different meals, but prepare them differently (steam, bake, or eat them raw). So many variations! Also, choose meals that are quick and easy to prepare in advance. For example, making overnight protein oats takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and is a great pre-workout or post-workout meal on the go!
- Eat/prepare food you enjoy eating. You will be more inclined to prepare and eat meals you actually enjoy. Just because you are trying to make healthier food choices does not mean you need to deprive yourself of flavour. I am sure you enjoy eating pizza, because let’s be real, who doesn’t enjoy pizza? Why not try making tortilla pizza using a whole grain tortilla wrap as your pizza crust. Or how about zucchini boat pizzas? So many options and healthier alternatives to your greasy spoon pizza.
- Schedule a time to prepare your meals. Schedule your grocery shopping and meal preparation as if you are scheduling a practice or game. By carving out a set amount of time you will be less likely to skip this key step. Make grocery shopping and meal preparation a priority like you make practices and games. Nutrition and fueling your body with nutrient dense whole foods is equally as important as your training, so carve out the time.
These are some easy lifestyle changes that will allow you to get in high quality meals and ensure you are fueling your body with the nutrients and minerals to optimize your performance on the ice or in the gym.
You can train as hard as you want, but without a proper diet you’ll hold yourself back from reaching your peak performance. It’s essential that hockey players who want to take their game to the next level learn to fuel their body and prioritize the kitchen just as much as the weight room.
Investing in meal prep strategies will ensure you’re consistently getting in high quality meals and properly fueled on the ice.
Kyle is a Hockey Performance Specialist who’s worked with hundreds of hockey players from Peewee to Pro. A former elite hockey player, Kyle earned his degree in Kinesiology before becoming a Strength Coach that specializes in hockey performance. Today, he runs Relentless Hockey where he works with players across the world, including pros in over 20+ leagues including the NHL, KHL, and OHL.