Athletes exert their body for long minutes while playing on the field. This is equally true for NFL players who typically exert their bodies, burning a lot of stored energy and helping them perform excellently if all things remain equal. But what fuels this energy? It's mostly sandwiches!
It has been reported that some NFL players go for classic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches just before a game. Others created their own smoothies, and those too excited by game-day have no appetite so they take nothing, focusing only on staying hydrated.
According to Leslie Bonci, a sports dietitian with the Kansas City Chiefs, the above mentioned foods are some of the foods NFL players are eating as they prepare for the big games but every player is unique.
Bonci said: “A lot of the guys love PB&J. That’s a comfortable food for them."
She also said: “Some of the guys have it with a glass of milk, just like they did in grade school, and that works as a fuel source."
However, regardless of how different the players are from each other based on what they eat pregame, Bonci says what they're looking for is something that can sit comfortably in the stomach.
Bonci also shared other foods she says are popular among NFL players. They include yogurt, Greek or regular, by itself or as a parfait; smoothies that are usually fruit-based mixed with protein powder, vegetable stir-fry, eggs, and pastas.
Another meal they consider comforting besides PB&J is oatmeal. They reportedly enjoy it. Soups too because it is liquid and food at the same time. They also consume chicken for protein.
Players are expected to switch to a meal plan they are comfortable with at least one week before they have to play games. They are expected to fuel up in those days before the games so that when the game starts they are adequately energized.
According to Mike Minnis, coordinator of performance nutrition and assistant strength coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, the only foods he would consider off the table pregame are those high in fat or fiber.
He said: "These foods can sit in your gut longer than others and could potentially cause some adverse gastrointestinal discomfort if eaten in excess.”
He also says that the timing of a meal is important. It is important to eat at least three hours prior to the game. Ideally the closer they are to a game, the less they consume.
In the end they all have what works for them but they always stick to comforting food that feels comfortable in their stomachs.