By: Jenna Appel, MS, RD, LDN
Proper nutrition can be your competitive edge, with just a bit of knowledge and careful planning. By understanding how certain nutrients affect your body and performance, you can coordinate meals and snacks to reach your full golfing potential. Proper nutrition can also help you to avoid fatigue and injury. Here are 5 nutrition tips to help you stay in top form on the golf course!
Tip #1: Stay Hydrated
Hydration will affect every single aspect of your game, from focus and concentration to striking the ball with better distance and accuracy. Drinking enough fluid will keep you feeling energized and prevent the onset of headaches, muscle spasms or cramping.
Fluid requirements should be individualized with consideration of your environmental conditions. As a general rule, aim for 2 cups of water an hour before your tee time and 1.5 liters (6 cups) of water during the round (approximately 3 ounces a hole).
Tip #2: Don’t Skip Breakfast
The meal you eat before a round of golf will have a considerable impact on your performance on the course. To optimize your energy, aim for a nutrient dense breakfast that consists of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Avoid foods that will make you feel sluggish, such as sugary cereals, donuts and greasy breakfast sandwiches.
Sample Healthy Breakfast Ideas:
● Veggie omelet with avocado and whole grain bread
● Reduced fat Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts
● Scrambled eggs with whole grain bread
Tip #3: Pack a Snack
Golfers can expect to play a round of golf for approximately 4 hours so it is important to plan ahead and pack a snack. A mid-round snack can help you beat fatigue, maintain energy and improve performance.
Avoid snacks like chips and candy, which can enhance muscle cramping and leave you feeling bloated and lethargic. Aim for a small, easily transportable nutritious snack.
Example Snacks to Pack:
● Banana with almond butter
● All natural dried fruit & nut mix
● Fruit with a handful of nuts
● Half of a peanut butter sandwich on 100% whole grain bread
Tip #4: Your Post Round Nutrition Matters
Your nutritional needs don't end once you step off the course. What you eat after a round actually plays a pivotal role in how you perform in the long run. Your post round nutrition will allow you to replenish your energy stores while repairing your muscles.
Avoid processed, fried and refined foods during this meal as the goal is to optimize your nutrition with nutrient dense foods. Aim for a meal complete with high quality protein, carbohydrates and foods high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Example Post Round Meal Ideas:
● Grilled chicken wrap with a side salad
● Salmon, sweet potato and steamed veggies
● Turkey burger with roasted vegetables
Tip #5: Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess fat around the body can add stress to the muscles and bones of the body, hinder your golf technique, and cause excess fatigue during your round.
If you prioritize your nutrition, playing golf regularly can help you stay fit, improve muscle tone and aid in weight loss.