Coaching Association of Canada

Shoot for Proper Nutrition On the Ice and Score Big!

To post this quick-reference tip and recipe on your fridge , download and print the PDF file below!

Proper nutrition for hockey provides:

  • Sustained energy from foods and fluids high in carbohydrate, adequate in protein, and lower in fat and fibre;
  • Mental focus for best technique and skill execution on the ice;
  • Adequate hydration and electrolyte balance;
  • Adequate energy and nutrients to recover and prepare for the next training session or game.

Fueling up for games:

  • Hockey players generally reach fatigue because of depleted carbohydrate-energy stores, dehydration, and/or a build-up of lactic acid (muscle burn);
  • A high carbohydrate diet consumed 24 hours before a hockey game will top-up energy;
  • Players are often challenged to maintain consistent energy during tournaments. Consuming extra carbohydrates in the days before a tournament begins will ensure players perform at their best!

So how can players ensure they stay hydrated?

  • Coaches should optimize shift changes and encourage fluid intake between periods; 
  • Players should start practices and games fully hydrated:
    • Try drinks containing carbohydrate (e.g. sports drinks)
      to assist with replacing energy stores, electrolytes and
      fluid lost.
    • Players may need to consume 600 to 700 ml of liquid,
      60 to 90 min prior to going on the ice.*
  • Recommended daily fluid intake:
    • Fluid lost = weight before - weight after.
    • Aim to drink 1.5L of fluid for every kilogram of weight lost.
  • Be aware: thirst is usually not a good indicator of fluid status. A player may be significantly
    dehydrated before becoming thirsty;
  • Most players will need 400 to 800 ml for every hour of exertion. Use the following gauge
    to ensure sufficient hydration (16 oz or 500 ml for four periods) over an hour.
    • One gulp = approximately 1 oz (30 ml)
    • Four gulps = 4 oz (125 ml)

High Carbohydrate Foods before/after games

  • 800 ml sports drink
  • 3 medium pieces of fruit
  • 1 medium bagel
  • 2 pancakes with maple syrup
  • 2 cereal/muesli bars (see recipe below)
  • 1 cup yogurt with 1 cup fruit
  • 1 cup low fat granola with 1 cup low fat milk
  • 250 to 350 ml fruit smoothie
  • 1 peanut butter and jam sandwich

Great high carbohydrate snacks for between periods

  • Fruit: fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and fruit bars
  • 100% fruit/vegetable juices
  • Sport drinks/gels
  • Dry cereals (muesli, low fat granola, Shreddies)
  • Cereal/sports/granola bars
  • Pretzels
  • Instant breakfast or meal replacement drinks (i.e. Boost/Ensure)

Easy Homemade Energy Bars

1 ¼ cups water
3 tbsp corn syrup
4 lb low fat oatmeal muffin mix
1 cup raisins (or dried cranberries, chopped dates, apricots, etc.)
⅓ cup sunflower seeds
(or almonds)
½ cup unsweetened
shredded coconut
1 tbsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 325F. In a large bowl, mix together water, corn syrup,
and muffin mix until water is absorbed.
2. Stir in raisins, sunflower seeds and cinnamon.
3. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spread mixture evenly over paper.
4. Add another piece of parchment paper on top of mixture and roll with rolling pin to 1” thick.
5. Remove top sheet of paper and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Cool in pan 45 minutes. Turn upside down and remove paper. Cut into 32 bars.

From: Dufour, A: PowerFUEL Food (October, 2012)