5 Baseball Nutrition Tips to Support Training and Competition

5 Baseball Nutrition Tips to Support Training and Competition

5 Baseball Nutrition Tips to Support Training and Competition

It is important for baseball players to have a sports nutrition plan in place to support their performance goals.

Here are 5 nutrition tips to help baseball players be fueled to train and compete at their best.

Baseball Nutrition Tip #1: Fuel Your Training and Competition

Eating a well-planned pre-game meal can help ensure baseball players go into the activity optimally fueled for performance.

When time allows, baseball players should schedule this meal 3-4 hours prior to the start of activity. This allows time for their bodies to digest the meal and to go to the bathroom, if needed, before the start of the baseball game.

The pre-game meal should include a good source of carbohydrates, a moderate amount of lean protein, and be low in saturated fat.

Example pre-game meals for baseball players may include:

  • Fruit smoothie, bagel with nut butter and honey
  • Pancakes, scrambled eggs, fresh sliced fruit
  • Turkey sub sandwich, pretzels, apple slices
  • Grilled salmon, steamed rice, green beans, dinner rolls
  • Pasta with marinara, sliced chicken, vegetables, breadsticks
Baseball PreGame Meal Ideas

Pre-Game Snacks for Baseball

When baseball players have less time prior to the start of the workout or game, they should focus on eating carbohydrate-rich snacks for a quick source of energy.

Eating food high in protein, fat, or fiber, too close to the start of the activity, may result in an upset stomach during the competition (1).

Ideas for carbohydrate-rich, pre-game snacks include:

  • Fresh fruit, dried fruit, applesauce squeeze
  • Pretzels, pita chips, snack crackers
  • Fig bar, low-fat granola bar
  • Sports drinks, chews, gels

Baseball Nutrition Tip #2: Focus on Hydration

Hydration is an essential aspect of a baseball player’s sports nutrition plan.

Dehydration can negatively impact performance and increase the risk of heat illnesses (2). Therefore, starting the game or workout in an optimally hydrated state is important.

Hydrating Before Baseball Practice and Games

Although hydration needs vary amongst athletes, there are some general pre-event guidelines baseball players can follow. 

Approximately 4 hours prior to the event, it is recommended that athletes drink 5-7 mL of fluid per kg of body weight (2). For a 180-pound athlete, this calculates to be ~14 – 19 fluid ounces. 

Thus, consuming approximately 2 cups of fluid (16 fl oz) with the pre-game meal can help baseball players with meeting this goal.

In the hour leading up to the game, baseball players should continue hydrating, aiming to drink approximately 8 oz of fluid during this time period. 

Hydrating During Baseball Practice and Games

It is important for baseball players to be focused on staying hydrated throughout the baseball game as well. 

During activity, athletes sweat to help remove heat from their bodies. When athletes sweat, they lose both fluid and electrolytes.

Therefore, baseball players need to make sure to consider both in their hydration plans.

Sports Drinks for Hydration During Baseball Games

Consuming a sports drink during activity can help baseball players with replacing both fluid and electrolyte losses. 

In addition, consuming a sports drink that contains carbohydrates can assist with providing baseball players with energy for the next inning.

A sports drink can be particularly beneficial when exercising in hot and humid environments, as baseball often is, to help replace fluid and electrolyte losses.

If baseball players choose to hydrate with water, it is important they have a plan for replacing electrolytes and carbohydrates during the game as well.

Importance of Hydration for Baseball Players

Individualized Hydration Plan for Baseball Players

When discussing the hydration needs of baseball players, it is important to recognize that the fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat can vary greatly amongst athletes.

It can be beneficial for athletes to work with a sports dietitian nutritionist to develop an individualized hydration plan specific to their unique needs.

Rehydrating After Baseball Practice and Games

Following a baseball practice or game it is important for athletes to replace the fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat. 

Weighing before and after activity can help athletes determine how much fluid was lost. For each pound of weight lost during the activity, baseball players should aim to drink 20-24 oz of fluid (1).

Consuming sodium during the recovery period can help baseball players replace the sodium lost in sweat. In addition, the sodium will help athletes better retain the fluid consumed after exercise.

Baseball players can consider adding salty foods such as pretzels, baked chips, deli meat, cheese, soup, pickles, and jerky to their recovery nutrition snacks and meals (2). 

Baseball Nutrition Tip #3: Pack Snacks for the Dugout

Baseball players should pack snacks for the dugout that can help them rehydrate and refuel throughout the practice or game.

Carbohydrate-rich snacks, similar to those enjoyed before the game, are good options for the dugout as well. The key is remembering to pack the snacks to have available during the game.

Salty, carbohydrate-based snacks, such as pretzels, pita chips or snack crackers, can be a good choice for baseball players to enjoy in the dugout.

These snacks provide carbohydrates for energy as well as salt, which can help replace the sodium lost in sweat. Salt also helps stimulate thirst (2), thus encouraging baseball players to drink fluid and meet their hydration needs as well.

Baseball Dugout Snacks

Baseball Nutrition Tip #4: Recover After Workouts and Games

Following a baseball practice or game, athletes should take time to focus on meeting their recovery nutrition needs.

Recovery nutrition is particularly important when athletes will be training or competing again the same day or next day.

In baseball, double and triple-headers are common so athletes should have a plan in place for meeting their recovery nutrition needs.

The three goals of recovery nutrition include:

  1. Hydrate – Replace fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat
  2. Refill Energy Stores – Consume carbohydrates to replace energy stores used during activity
  3. Build and Repair – Consume protein to help build and repair lean muscle mass

Recovery Nutrition Snacks for Baseball Players

If it will be several hours prior to the next meal, baseball players should consume a post-game snack following activity. 

Quick and easy snack ideas include:

  • Low-fat chocolate milk and granola bars
  • Turkey and cheese wrap with sports drink
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with low-fat milk
  • Sliced cheese, crackers, grapes, water
  • String cheese, pretzels, banana, sports drink
  • Sports bar with sports drink
  • Post-workout smoothie

Why is Chocolate Milk Good for Recovery?

Athletes are frequently encouraged to drink chocolate milk following activity to support their recovery nutrition needs.

A 1-cup serving of chocolate milk provides 8 grams of complete protein and 26 grams of carbohydrates (3). In addition, chocolate milk is 90% water.

Thus, chocolate milk can help support athletes with meeting the protein, carbohydrate, and fluid needs following activity.

Post-Game Meal for Baseball Players

Baseball players should follow-up their recovery snack with a well-balanced post-game meal in the next couple of hours.

This is particularly important when competing in a tournament with games scheduled again the next day. 

Example post-game meals include:

  • Grilled chicken breast, brown rice, green beans, sliced melon, tart cherry juice
  • Chicken or beef fajitas, Spanish rice, charro beans, guacamole, water
  • Pasta with marinara sauce, turkey meatballs, grilled chicken, or shrimp, salad, breadsticks, water
  • Roasted salmon, sweet potato, steamed broccoli, dinner rolls, 100% fruit juice
  • Sub sandwich with turkey, ham, or roast beef, pretzels, apple slices, sports drink

Baseball Nutrition Tip #5: Plan Ahead for Travel

Baseball players frequently travel to out-ot-town tournaments, thus having strategies in place to meet their sports nutrition needs on the road is important.  

If you need ideas to support travel nutrition, take time to review the blogs below.

5 Baseball Nutrition Tips

Healthy Restaurant Choices for Baseball Player

When traveling, baseball players should focus on making healthy choices at restaurants

Athletes should select meals that provide a good source of carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy, unsaturated fats.

Example meals athletes can enjoy at restaurants to help them meet their sports nutrition needs include:

  • Chipotle: Chicken or steak burrito bowl made with brown rice, black beans, corn salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, and guacamole
  • Maggiano’s Little Italy: Spaghetti with meat sauce, Italian wedding soup, tossed salad, ciabatta rolls
  • Texas Roadhouse: USDA choice sirloin, BBQ grilled chicken, or grilled salmon, baked sweet potato, steamed broccoli, garden salad, and dinner rolls
  • Subway: Sweet onion chicken teriyaki sub, baked chips, sports drink
  • Chick-fil-A: Grilled chicken sandwich, Greek yogurt parfait, and a fresh fruit cup
  • Panda Express: Broccoli beef, steamed brown rice, hot and sour soup
  • Mod Pizza: Pizza with ham or chicken, variety of vegetable toppings, side salad

Download my free Healthy Eating Out Guide for Athletes for additional recommendations on how to make healthy choices when dining out.

Baseball Nutrition

You are now set with 5 nutrition tips to help baseball players be fueled to train and perform at their best.

For additional sports nutrition tips, check out my recent blog: Breakfast for Teens On the Go.

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About the Author

Mandy Tyler is a Sports Dietitian Nutritionist in the San Antonio, TX area. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, a Licensed Athletic Trainer, and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. Mandy has experience working with athletes at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. She believes the key to reaching one’s full potential, both in everyday life and in sports performance, relies on a healthy nutritional foundation.

Sports Nutrition Game Day Guide EBook for Athletes

If you are looking to take your performance to the next level, make sure to check out my new Sports Nutrition Game Day Guide. This downloadable guide is written to help athletes develop an individualized plan to achieve peak performance on game day.

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