Before a Tennis Match:
Healthy breakfast on competition days is one that includes complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat, oatmeal, and low-calorie fruits. These complex carbs will keep a steady energy store to power through the matches later on in the day. A small amount of protein in the form of milk, an egg white or Greek yogurt is a good complement to the meal, although protein will be more necessary after the match than before.
You should avoid high sugar breakfasts and fruits or they risk feeling an energy crash in the middle of their matches due to the initial insulin release from the pancreas in order to keep blood sugar levels down.
Breakfast should be eaten at least two hours before the start of the match to avoid intestinal cramping.
The pre-match meal should contain some carbohydrate for fuel as well as some fluids for hydration. Some suitable ideas include:
- Wrap or sandwich with ham and salad
- Muesli or porridge with fruit
- Pasta with beef mince in the tomato-based sauce
- Chicken noodle soup served with bread rolls
- English muffins with avocado and cheese
During a tennis match:
During the match, tennis players use so much energy resulting in glycogen deposit depletion. The tennis diet during the match should be able to replenish the used-up glycogen. A perfect snack during a match is a banana, which will keep blood sugar levels steady and provide a quick energy boost mid-match.
You should also not wait to be thirsty in order to drink water. Often, athletes do not feel thirst when the adrenaline is pumping through their bodies- so it is important to drink water every 15 minutes to replenish the water and electrolytes lost through sweating. A good alternative to sugar-filled sports drinks is coconut water which is loaded with electrolytes and potassium.
After the tennis match:
A lot of energy gets expended during a match, so it is important for athletes to refuel their bodies with a healthy balance of nutrition within 2 hours. For muscle recovery, a high amount of lean protein such as chicken or fish should be eaten as a balanced meal with some complex carbohydrates and vegetables. Whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, fitness bread (whole wheat 100% grain) with chicken breast or buffalo meat make for a great post-match recovery meal. Couple a full meal with a natural sodium source like low-fat, high protein cheese like Mozzarella.
Some recovery food suggestions include:
- Egg salad sandwich
- Flavored milk + handful trail mix
- Wraps with chicken, cheese, avocado, and salad
- Pasta with bolognese sauce and a side salad
- Homemade pita pizzas with ham, cheese + veggies