eat before a basketball game
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What To Eat & Drink Before Basketball:

Do you eat anything prior to a basketball game? It’s time to get going if the answer is “no.” Eating before a game might improve your performance by giving you more energy and mental clarity. We’ll outline some ideas for what to eat before a game of basketball in this blog post. We’ll also cover the reasons why consuming particular meals can enhance athletic performance.

Tips for Consuming Food Before a Basketball Game

Protein and Carbs

A great pregame meal is a combination of healthy carbohydrates and lean proteins. Healthy carbohydrates are found in foods such as rice, potatoes, beans, bread, and pasta. Lean protein comes from meats that have little to no fat content like chicken or turkey breast.

The combination of these foods is key for game time. Your body will be able to utilize both carbohydrates and protein for energy.

This sustained improvement in your athletic prowess may enable you to score more goals during a game! Having continuous mental sharpness throughout playing is another benefit of eating well before a basketball game.

CarbohydratesProtein / Meat
Steel Cut OatsChicken Breast / White Meat
Brown RiceLean Turkey
Sweet Potato / PotatoesTuna
BananaWhole Egg / Egg whites
AppleLean Sirloin
Samples of good quality carbs and protein

The table above is an example of the most common Carbohydrates and Protein sources that most athletes consume before training. This is assuming that they eat at around 3 hours before the physical activity to give time for the body to digest and absorb the nutrients. DO NOT eat these food if you are near (less than an hour) before the physical activity. A few exceptions may be a piece of fruit or a single boiled egg.


Water is the most important thing to make sure you consume before a game. Up to an hour prior to the start of your basketball activity, you should consume at least two cups of water. This will give your body time to absorb the fluids, which is essential for staying hydrated while playing.

You’ll need more than just water; sip on some sports drinks with electrolytes to provide you with additional energy before playing basketball. This type of beverage will also help to replace the electrolytes you lose when playing basketball.

Electrolytes are also found in other drinks like fruit juice, so eating or drinking these before a game them is beneficial for your performance too.

eat before a basketball game

Keep it Light

Avoid eating a lot or eating heavy foods before a game because doing so may cause your stomach to feel uncomfortable. Avoid foods like greasy, fried, and fatty meals like hamburgers, fries, steak, and anything high in fat!

You should also steer clear from eating high-fiber items that can cause bloating like beans or broccoli which isn’t fun during the big game!

Limit the Sugar and Sodium

Avoid eating a lot of sugar, which might cause an energy slump. Consume cautiously because sugar is present in many pre-packaged foods and beverages. There are a lot of stealthy sugar and sodium on most processed and pre packaged foods to it’s always better to eat whole foods!

You might also want to watch how much salt you eat before playing basketball because too much can lead to high blood pressure which isn’t good for your cardiovascular system.

Some examples of food with higher sodium levels are chips, crackers, deli meats, cured meats like bacon or ham, and fast food. Also, foods that are high in sodium because this will cause you to retain water and gain weight!

Stick to Small Portions

It’s best to have smaller portions throughout your day instead of one large meal since it will be easier for your body to digest what you eat so there won’t be any problems while on the court. This also means that you eat more often.

Don’t eat too much food before a game because it will just sit in your stomach and cause discomfort during playtime. Eating smaller portions of what we mentioned above is better for keeping yourself healthy while playing basketball!

We recommend sticking with healthy snacks between games if necessary such as bananas, apples, oranges, and granola bars.

Pregame Meal

Make sure that your pregame meal is not too difficult on your stomach, especially when playing an intense sport like basketball.

If there isn’t time for a proper meal before the big game, then eat something light that will still give you energy such as dry toast with peanut butter or crackers with cheese – just make sure you eat about one hour before tip-off if possible!

This will give you time for your body to digest the food and it won’t be hard on your stomach when playing.

Sports Drinks

Drinking sports drinks with electrolytes is also beneficial because this gives extra fuel for playing basketball. Just make sure that they don’t contain sugar, salt, caffeine (if possible), additives like artificial colorings/flavorings, preservatives such as BHA & BHT, propylene glycol, MSG.

How Many Hours Should You Eat Before a Basketball Game?

You should eat these types of food about three hours before the game starts. Just eat a light snack if you’re eating closer to tip-off time (one hour before). It’s not ideal for your stomach to be empty because this could lead to cramping during the game so eat something small!

Eating just before a basketball game is not advised because it can induce stomach distress and troubles during the big game. Try drinking some sports drinks with electrolytes if you have no time at all to eat so your body will have energy while playing.

eat before a basketball game

Go Easy on the Water

Don’t eat too much and drink plenty of water before a game! This will help you avoid feeling bloated or weighed down during playtime which can affect how you perform on the court.

Is it Good to Play Basketball on an Empty Stomach?

No, playing basketball on an empty stomach is not a good idea. The reason is that you can get dizziness and fatigue during the game, which would be bad for your performance, and more importantly, may be harmful to your health! This is why it’s recommended to eat about three hours before the game starts.

Should You Eat During Halftime?

Sports dieticians advise against eating during halftime unless you haven’t eaten in at least an hour and feel exhausted. If so, consider choosing healthy snacks like apples or bananas, which are packed with natural sugars for instant energy boosts. Just don’t eat too many! Also, make sure your drink some sports drinks with electrolytes so your body can keep up with what you need during playtime!

What Should You Eat After a Basketball Game?

Eat something that will provide your body with the nutrients it lost via sweat after a basketball game to keep yourself energized for the next one. After finishing, try to take a little snack because this is the time when your muscles are most open to replenishing and recovering.

Some examples include yogurt, sweet potato fries, whole grain pasta, or brown rice – just make sure it’s not too much food otherwise you’ll feel sluggish and tired!

If possible eat a full balanced meal about 60-90 minutes after playing basketball so all of the protein, carbs, fats can be digested at an appropriate pace.

How Many Calories Do You Need in a Day for Basketball?

You should eat about 2000 calories every day to maintain your weight. This number can vary depending on how much you weigh, what type of basketball you play (intense vs casual), and the level that you’re playing at.

As recommended by dieticians, estimating a person’s daily caloric intake has a start point of 14-16 calories per pound of body weight. For example, an individual weighing 165 lbs (75kg) would yield a maintenance caloric value of 2,301-2,640 calories/day. This is assuming the individual is a healthy adult and and is physically active on a daily basis.

It is suggested that women, or those with slower metabolic rates and sedentary lifestyle, should use the lower value (14 calories per pound), while men, and individuals with faster metabolic rates, would apply the higher value (16 calories per pound)

For an intense workout such as playing basketball or other high-intensity sports, we recommend eating around 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat (healthy!), 20% protein after exercise to replenish glycogen stores (carbohydrates) and repair muscles (protein).

eat before a basketball game


As long as you eat the right things before a game, your body should feel comfortable playing basketball even for hours at a time. Remember these tips on what to eat before a basketball game so you’ll be ready when tip-off comes around.


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