Sports Nutrition for Touch

By Jessica Pulley (Registered Dietitian)

Scroll down to read more or download our PDF here

5 Basic Principles:

  1. Healthy Eating Practices
  2. Fueling Before Training/Competition
  3. Fueling During Training/Competition
  4. Refueling After Training/Competition
  5. Hydration

Healthy Eating Practices:

  • Establish a regular meal pattern
  • Take regular snacks between meals
  • Don’t leave more than 3 hours between a meal or snack
  • Look to include a variety of foods from the 5 core food groups each day
  • Cereals: pasta, rice, noodles, bread, potato, sweet potato, breakfast cereals, oats
  • Protein: lean meats, skinless chicken, fish, eggs, legumes, lentils, tofu, nuts, low fat cheeses
  • Fruit: 2O4 pieces spaced over the day
  • Vegetables: 3O5 varieties of salads and vegetables daily
  • Dairy: semi skimmed milk, low fat yoghurts, low fat cheeses

Main meals should be based most often on wholegrain carbohydrates such as:

  • Wholemeal and granary breads, rolls, wraps
  • Pasta
  • Rice (Basmati has the lowest GI therefore slowest energy release)
  • Potato/sweet potato
  • Rice/Egg/Wheat Noodles

Snacks to include:

  • Fresh and dried fruits
  • Yogurts
  • Plain crackers with low fat cheese
  • Muesli/Cereal bars

Make sure you are getting enough fibre in your diet and are going to the toilet regularly. If you are eating a variety of foods already mentioned you will most likely be meeting your requirements.

Women:  make sure you are getting enough:

  • Calcium requirements = 700mg per day from milk, yogurts, cheeses, almonds, tofu, soya milk fortified with calcium and more.
  • Iron requirements = 14.8mg per day from lean red meats, chickpeas, spinach, green leafy vegetables, nuts and more.

NB: If you have cravings for specific foods listen to your body it is generally telling you something. If you have cravings for foods that aren’t necessarily healthy then satisfy your craving in moderation (i.e. Crunchy Nut Cornflakes are a sometimes food, hey Dassie?).

Fueling before training/ competition:

  • Provides your body with energy to perform well
  • Tops up energy stores (blood glucose, muscle glycogen and liver glycogen)
  • Main meals and snacks need to include carbohydrates

Sources of fuel to provide slow release sustaining energy (Low GI) include:

  • Wholemeal and granary breads, rolls, wraps
  • Wholegrain cereals (oats, bran flakes, muesli, weetbix, Just Right etc)
  • Pasta
  • Rice (Basmati has the lowest GI therefore slowest energy release)
  • Potato/sweet potato
  • Rice/Egg/Wheat Noodles
  • Fresh and dried fruit
  • Muesli and cereal bars
  • Yoghurts, smoothies, milkshakes
  • Fruit Juices

NB: Glycaemic Index is the rate at which the carbohydrate in the food is digested into the base carbohydrate molecule glucose and released into the blood stream.

Fueling During Training/ Competition:

  • Plan ahead to have food and fluids with you
  • Include carbohydrates that are more refined and have a high GI which means they digest quickly into glucose and enter the blood stream to provide you with instant energy to keep performing

Sources of fuel during activity include:

  • White breads/rolls/wraps
  • Overcooked pasta
  • Fruit and fruit juice
  • Sweets and lollies
  • Sports drinks
  • Glucose tablets
  • Energy gels/bars (may be applicable at half time for the men playing in the middles and possibly links)

  • Establish a routine that works for you and PRACTISE, PRACTISE, PRACTISE!!!
  • Identify which foods and fluids work best at replenishing your energy levels instantly without causing side effects of bloating, wind, stomach upsets, nausea, reflux, vomiting, constipation or diarrhoea

NB: If you have a heart rate monitor, where it at every training session/camp/trial game to get an estimate of your body s calorie expenditure to work out how much you need to fuel before, during and after your session.

Refueling After Training/ Competition:

  • Aim to start refueling within 30 minutes of finishing your session/game. Research shows that glucose is most effectively up taken to replenish stores within 30 – 60 minutes post activity.
  • Refueling with carbohydrates is essential to replenish blood glucose, muscle glycogen and liver glycogen stores.
  • Focus on wholegrain carbohydrates for sustaining energy but include some refined carbohydrates to replenish some stores quickly.
  • If you have had a heavy session and/or done strength and conditioning training protein is very important to rebuild broken muscle fibers.

Good sources of protein include:

  • Lean meats
  • Skinless chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy foods (milk, yogurt, cheese, soya milk/yogurt)
  • Nuts
  • Legumes (beans, chickpeas)
  • Lentils (spilt peas)
  • Tofu
  • Be sure to include a variety of vegetables/salad to replace vitamins, minerals ­and electrolytes

NB: If you do not achieve successful refuelling with carbohydrates your body will refuel those stores by breaking down muscle protein and converting it to glucose. You will not breakdown fat to replenish glucose.


  • If you feel thirsty it is too late!
  • An average person requires approximately 2 litres of fluid daily, more specifically it is 30O35ml per kg or your body weight (i.e. a 70kg person requires 2.1O2.4L fluid per day)
  • If you are a big sweater then you will need more
  • As soon as you add exercise into your day then you need to add at least a litre for every hour you are exercising (not so much for strength training)
  • Be aware of the training/competition climate and its affect on your fluid/sweat/electrolyte losses
  • You can estimate your fluid losses be weighing yourself prior to exercise and then straight after your session (minus your sweaty shirt/shorts) to estimateyour fluid losses
  • Replenish with fluids equating to 150% of your fluid losses
  • Being dehydrated increases your risk of injury and can contribute to poor recovery

Sources of hydration:

  • Water
  • Sports/Energy drinks
  • Fruit Juices/squash
  • Hydrolyte/Gastrolyte sachets added to water

NB: if you are concerned about your dental care then be sure to wash food and fluid down with plenty of water and swill your mouth and teeth regularly.