Hockey Pre Game Meal Tips

One of the more important, and often overlooked, aspects of a hockey players game day routine is the food that they consume before getting to the rink.  The pre game meal mindset should really be expanded outside of just thinking about the last meal eaten, and more about the food consumed on the entire game day (and for serious hockey players even the day before a game).

Below I will go over some pregame meal tips for hockey players…

Your pre game meal should be high in carbohydrates and low in protein and healthy fats.  Meals high in protein take more oxygen to metabolize and digest and result in easier fatigue – avoid high protein meals.  Fats cause a delay in gastric emptying and should also be limited in your pre game meal.

Your pre game meal should be eaten anywhere between 3-5 hours before your hockey game.  Players can ultimately decide on what they are more comfortable, but the important factor is not eating a big meal too close to game time.  If you prefer a big pre game meal you should eat it closer to 4-5 hours before game time (with a snack closer to) and if you prefer a smaller pre game meal you can eat it closer to 3 hours before the game.

This ties in with the tip above.  Make sure you prevent feelings of hunger leading up to your game.  If you feel very hungry it is too late (your blood sugar may be low resulting in fatigue).  If you are starting to feel any sign of hunger eat a small and light carbohydrate snack (crackers is my personal choice).

Stick with familiar foods for your pre game meal. Many hockey players will stick to the exact same meal before every game – although that is not necessary, you do need to stick to foods you are familiar with.  Trying out new foods, sauces, etc before a game is not a good time and could lead to an upset stomach or other unnecessary problems.

Your choice of food is important for pre game, but ensuring you drink a lot of fluids on game day is just as important. In order to perform your best you will need to make sure your body is fully hydrated.  If you want to be the best hockey player you can be cut the soda pop out of your game day routine (I’ve played with a guy who would drink it while getting his gear on).  Drink plenty of WATER on game day (and even the day before), and sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade) are a good choice too.

So what is an example of a good pre game meal for hockey?

Of course everyone will have their own preferences on what to eat, but here is a good example..

Large bowl of Spaghetti or other pasta with tomato sauce, only a tiny bit of Parmesan cheese if any, small bowl of salad with light dressing, piece of white or brown bread or dinner roll, 2 large glasses of water.

You could also bring a Gatorade and a few crackers to the rink to eat and drink when you arrive to prepare for your hockey game.

There ya go, a couple solid hockey pre game tips that should be put into use if you are serious about taking your game to the next level!


  1. Les Claypool says

    I’m a 36 yr old goaltender and just getting back into playing. (no I am not the frontman for Primus!) I am playing in a tournament starting tonight at 930, with another game tomorrow morning at 930 and another at 2 in the afternoon. I have 2 questions:
    1. My current pregame meal consists of Quinoa and brown rice (480 calories, 420mg Potassium, 94g carbs, 12g protein) followed by a Zone protein bar about an hour or so before the game. It feels like it is working well for me, would you suggest any modifications to the pregame meal?
    2. Can you suggest some ideas to help me recover for the 2nd, 3rd and hopefully 4th games of the weekend? I’m actually going into it with a bit of a sore groin but it’s not bad. Any help is most appreciated.

    Good luck with your site, I look forward to returning often.

  2. Kevin says

    Hey Les, sorry I didn’t see this comment earlier (hopefully I can help for future tournaments though).

    The Quinoa and brown rice is a good meal to have a few hours before your first game. Just looking at the Zone bars, and I would recommend something lighter (non salted crackers perhaps) for an hour before the game.

    As far as recovering for tournaments… make sure you are getting properly hydrated first of all. Something simple like a reduced sugar jelly sandwich might be good for between games (think carbs).


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