In my article Pre-Game Nutrition for Youth Athletes I describe five things to consider when preparing for competition—Muscle Glycogen Stores, Alert Energy, Electrolytes & Hydration, Feeling Light, and Amino Acids.
The article also details the kinds of foods to eat in order to accomplish these goals. In a nutshell, eat whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and unprocessed animal foods while avoiding processed sugars and grains.
Eating the above mentioned nutrient dense foods will maximize strength and stamina on game day as well as improve overall health and well-being off the field. Apply these same principles when choosing ingredients that make up a smoothie. Drink pre-game smoothies about 2 hours before competition.
Liquid Base Options for Smoothies
Choose unprocessed or minimally processed liquids that are low in sugar and high in nutrients.
- Grass Fed Whole Milk
Read why I recommend full fat over skim in my article Pre-Game Nutrition for Youth Athletes
- Coconut Milk
Note: Choose unsweetened and carrageenan free
- Coconut Water
Coconut water adds natural sweetness to a smoothie without being too high in sugar. Coconut water is also high in electrolytes and vitamins needed for energy and recovery.
Kombucha is a fermented tea that has numerous health benefits including good bacteria for gut health, antioxidants for disease prevention, and antibacterial properties to fight against infection. For smoothies, I use fruit sweetened versions like strawberry, mango, and orange. Kombucha gives smoothies a sweet, yet tart flavor much like flavored yoghurt.
- Homemade Almond and Other Nut Milks Get Recipe Here
Homemade almond milk is so much more nutritious than store bought and it tastes better too. Homemade almond milk contains protein, fiber, vitmin E, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.
- Store Bought Nut Milks
While I do typically have a carton of nut milk on hand, they are the least nutritious option. Store bought nut milks are mostly water, thickening agents, and synthetic vitamins with a very small amount of almonds. With that said, I do understand the convenience of this option for people sensitive to dairy. Always choose carrageenan free unsweetened varieties. My go to when I run out of homemade milk is unsweetened macadamia milk. It has the most neutral flavor and works well in smoothies.
- Grass Fed Cream or Coconut Cream
When using lower fat options as a base, I typically add 1 Tbsp. of grass fed cream or coconut cream. The fat found in grass fed cream and coconut cream gives smoothies a creamy texture while also aiding in absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fat will also slow down the absorption of carbohydrates resulting in sustainable alert energy.