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Late Night Munching - What to Eat After a Nighttime Match

November 11, 2003 11:09 AM

by Jim Brown, Ph.D.

When tennis players play matches that end late at night, some of them are ready to eat. What they eat often affects how quickly they recover and how they perform the next day.

"Eating foods rich in carbohydrates can help replenish muscle glycogen," says Georgia State sports nutritionist, Chris Rosenbloom, Ph.D., R.D. "Studies have shown that the resynthesis rate is greater during the first few hours after exercise than it is several hours later. Eating carbohydrate-rich foods immediately after a match can help an athlete recover more quickly, which can be important in a long tournament or over the course of a long season."

Rosenbloom, Editor of Sports Nutrition: A Guide for the Professional Work, offers these suggestion for after-match meals:

  • Drink sports drinks that contain carbohydrate. This will replace some of the carbohydrates and fluids lost through perspiration during your match.
  • Eat foods with a high glycemic index. They are more effective in replenishing muscle glycogen stores. High glycemic index foods include bagels with honey, crackers, raisins, bananas, and white and whole wheat bread.
  • Consider thick crust pizza as an after-game meal, especially those that have vegetable or lean meat (ham or Canadian bacon) toppings. The thick crust varieties boost carbohydrate intake more than thin crust styles.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages. Drinks containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and some soft drinks, may cause insomnia. The same thing can happen with certain over-the-counter pain medications and prescription drugs. Be sure to check the ingredients.

© HMS Publishing, Inc.

Jim Brown will be contributing new content to this site on a monthly basis. If you have a question for Dr. Brown please feel free to email him at sportsmed@mindspring.com.




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