To Eat, or Not to Eat Before Basketball Practice: That is the Question

December 18, 2017
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Many basketball players wonder if it is sensible to eat prior to basketball practice. Will food provide a useful boost to your energy levels, or hold you back when you need to be at your best?

In this case, the former is true: you do want to eat prior to basketball practice.

The reason for this is simple: Food is fuel. It’s easy to forget this in a world of “foodies” and photographs of prettily-arranged lunches uploaded to Instagram; we eat because we have to. Our bodies need energy just to get through the day, so if you’re going to be going through the physical exertion of basketball practice, then you need even more energy. It therefore makes sense to eat a nutritious, beneficial snack prior to your practice.

When You Should Eat

Ideally, you want to eat around an hour before practice. This gives your body time to metabolize the food and convert it to energy, which you can then use to see you through your practice. It is inadvisable to eat sooner than 15 minutes prior to your exercise session, as this can lead to nausea and indigestion.

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What You Should Eat

This is the biggest question of all. Here are a few suggestions of beneficial snacks to eat prior to your basketball practice.


Nuts are something of a superfood, only without the expensive price tag that superfoods tend to involve. Nuts are incredibly nutrient dense; they are packed with protein and beneficial fats, which will help give you plenty of energy for your session.

The only downside of nuts is that they are rather calorific, so don’t eat too many. Almonds and pistachios are the lowest-calorie nuts, while still containing all those rich nutrients that your body is going to need.


Protein is an essential fuel for your body; in fact, if you undergo physical exercise without adequate protein, then you could do real damage to your body. Protein is found most abundantly in meats such as chicken and turkey; opting for lean cuts of these will be hugely beneficial to your workout.

You can also try all forms of shellfish; prawns are particularly useful, white oily fish such as tuna or anchovies will also give you a boost. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, your best source of protein is tofu or chia seeds.


Contrary to popular saying, fat does not make you fat. Adding fat to your pre-practice meal will be extremely beneficial both for energy and your fitness duration, helping you to get the most out of your session.

Choose healthy fats such as olive oil, grass-fed butter, or whole milk. These can be combined with the food above to create a fantastic pre-practice food boost. You could drizzle olive oil over cooked prawns and have a pistachio or three as a side, for example; or opt for a little butter mixed with tuna and almonds.

If you follow the steps above, you can be sure that your pre-practice meal is beneficial, and has you ready and raring to go.

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