Think of carbohydrates as fuel for your body. Eating the proper amount will ensure that you have the energy and endurance for practices and games. 


It’s recommended that about 2/3 of every meal a basketball players eats consist of carbs. The recommendation for every player's daily carbohydrate needs vary based on weight - so a good rule of thumb is  2.27-3.18 grams per pound that an athlete weighs.

Please note that all examples below are of what a meal plan can look like  for 150lb player.


Fresh Bread

1- 4 Hours Before a Game

This is the best time to eat a healthy meal full of carbohydrate-rich food, such as:

- Rice

- Beans

- Pasta

- Potatoes

You want to eat about 0.45 - 1.81 grams/ lb of carbohydrates within this time window. As a good rule of thumb, eat fewer carbs the closer you get to practice or game time. If you happen to be at school during these times, or just out and about, try packing whole wheat bread with peanut butter or cheese in your book bag. This meal will give you the carbohydrates you need for practice or a game, and will give you plenty of time to digest.  

3 - 4 Hours Before a Game

- 12 fl oz apple juice

- 1 large banana

-1 plain bagel w/ 1 Tbsp. light margarine

- 1 container (6oz) of yogurt with fruit on the bottom topped with ½ cup granola.

Total: 209g carbohydrates, 25g protein, 9g fat

 2 Hours Before a Game

- 2 slices of toast with jelly (2 slices white bread, 1 Tbsp. fruit preserves)

-1 cup of apple cranberry juice

Total: 78g carbohydrates, 4g protein, 2g fat

1 Hour Before a Game: 

Try to eat some whole fruit in this time frame. Maybe reach for bananas, berries, or apples. Fruit digests easily, and will keep you from getting hungry come game time. 

Stay away from anything that looks like processed sugar - including sugary sports drinks. These can lead to an upset stomach, and spike blood sugar resulting in poor performance. 

Game / Halftime: 

During breaks in the game be sure to drink fluids. Plays can also have a small carbohydrate rich snack, such as fruit. This is the time when sports drinks are OK to drink, but in moderation. The intensity of the game has to be taken into account during this period. Low intensity practices don't require players to refuel as much as games or practices that are a bit more labor-intensive. 

Post Game:

Eating carbohydrates after a game can help repair muscles. You should try to eat carbs shortly after practice or a game. Your goal is to replace the carbohydrates you lost during exercise. 

When playing tournaments, when games are played back-to-back, 0.45-0.54g/lb of carbohydrates should be consumed every 4 hours. 

Sources: Cincinnati Children's and USAB

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