Meal Plan for Basketball Players – Ultimate 2022 Beginners Guide

The best meal while playing basketball is something that can prevent you from feeling tired. In addition to this, you should choose what to eat and drink according to your taste and preferences.

So, in order to follow a balanced meal plan for basketball players, it is important not only to be careful about what foods you eat but also about how many calories you consume.

NBA basketball is a notoriously strenuous activity. Players tend to be older, and they run almost as much as in track-and-field events. In fact, traditional running workouts are standard practice for NBA players. Breakfast is a regular meal for them; however, lunch and dinner are also meals that are eaten before or after practice.

According to EXOS Sports Performance, the meal plan for basketball players should include “lean proteins at every meal. ” These options include poultry, fish, and other meat options. Carbohydrates should come from fruits and vegetables. Examples of these are sweet potatoes, spinach salads, and steamed broccoli.

How To Build a Muscle?

Meal Plan for Basketball Players

Building muscle takes a lot of dedication and hard work on the basketball court. A well-designed meal plan is important for any athlete who wants to increase their muscle mass. This meal plan for basketball players will help you gain weight, gain strength and dominate the courts!

When you’re playing sports or just spending a lot of time outside, it’s easy to consume your body weight in sugary drinks and sugary snacks.

Sugar is not only expensive but can cause a variety of health issues that might hinder your performance both on and off the court. Because of this, many athletes are turning to meal replacements as they save you time, and money, and in some cases, may even improve your health.

It’s Important for Basketball Players to Eat Well

Many people love basketball but don’t know much about what it takes to stay healthy and active in the sport. What kind of food should a basketball player eat? How long should they eat for?

You may be surprised to learn that various meals can have a huge impact on how your body functions, and in turn affect your performance on the court.

For example, eating too much food before a game can make you feel sluggish, as your body will use energy trying to digest all of the extra calories. On the other hand, if you don’t eat enough food before an activity, you may end up feeling weak and lightheaded (this is called hypoglycemia).

Not only does what we eat affect our performance during exercise—it also affects our risk of getting hurt. Research has shown that eating too little or too much before an activity can raise our risk of injury.

If players aren’t eating enough calories to support their activities, their bodies won’t have enough nutrients to repair themselves after physical exercise (or even daily wear-and-tear).

You see this often when people who are dieting sustain injuries while they’re exercising: some studies have found up to one third of people who get these kinds of injuries weren’t eating enough food!

Players Need 4,000-6,000 Calories Per Day

But how much should you eat on a daily basis? Take into consideration your body type and the amount of training you do for basketball. The average man needs about 2,500 calories per day, while the average woman needs about 2,000 calories.

Depending on your gender and how often and intensely you train, you may need more or less than this number of calories every day. The average basketball player uses between 4,000-6,000 calories per day to fuel their workouts and games.

Basketball Players Must Have a Balanced Diet

Basketball Players Must Have a Balanced Diet

Basketball players must have a balanced diet; it should include a mixture of proteins, carbohydrates, iron and calcium. You need protein to build muscle, carbohydrates for energy and iron to help carry oxygen throughout the body. It’s also important to consume enough calcium for strong bones and teeth.

Your diet should include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein like chicken or fish, low-fat dairy products and healthy oils like olive oil or avocado oil. Processed foods with high sodium content are unhealthy choices that can also make you feel sluggish on the court.

For optimal performance before games or workouts, choose complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber such as oatmeal or whole wheat toast with peanut butter.

To replenish energy stores after playing basketball for long periods of time, consider a recovery shake with fruit juice mixed in with your favorite protein powder. Protein bars are another good option if you need a convenient meal replacement snack before practice or a game.

A balanced diet will ensure a basketball player has enough protein in his body to support muscle growth. Protein is an essential nutrient for any athlete, but especially for basketball players.

Eating Small Meals Frequently Is Better Than Eating Big Meals Infrequently

A good rule of thumb is to eat small meals frequently throughout the day. This will keep you from becoming ravenous between meals and thus less likely to overindulge.

By keeping your blood sugar levels relatively stable, you’ll also be able to maintain a more consistent level of energy throughout the day.

Basketball Players Require a High Amount Of Calories In Their Diets

As a basketball player, you need to consume a lot of calories. I’m talking thousands and thousands. This is because you are burning so many calories every time you practice. A typical practice will burn an average of 1,000 calories.

Basketball players need to eat 4000 and 6000 calories per day in order to perform at the highest level possible. The more demanding your practices are, the more calories you will require.

For example, if you want to be able to play for two hours straight without feeling tired at all, it’s important that you take in those extra 500 or 1,000 calories so that your body has enough energy when you need it most during the game…

Best Time for You to Eat as A Basketball Player

Best Time for You to Eat as A Basketball Player

A healthy basketball player is a successful basketball player. That is why eating the right food at the right time is extremely important if you want to stay on top of your game.

It doesn’t matter how great you are, if your diet isn’t up to par then you won’t be able to play at your best. For that reason, we have put together this guide that includes everything you need to know about what to eat as a basketball player.

In this article we will discuss when is the best time for you to eat as a basketball player and what food choices are available for you depending on that time frame. This way, every mealtime will become easier as it will always be clear what kinds of foods you should or shouldn’t have during breakfast or any other meal.


Breakfast plays an important role in fueling up your body so that it can perform at its best during practice or even games. Because of this, having a proper breakfast before practice or a game can make all the difference in the world when it comes to how well you play out there on court.

  • Whole-Grain Toast with Peanut Butter And A Glass Of Low-Fat Milk Or Juice. Ideally, you’ve got about 2 hours to eat before you head out for practice. This gives the food time to digest and turns it into fuel that your muscles will use. If you get less than an hour, still aim for a meal that includes quality carbohydrates, like whole-grain bread or pasta, fruit, and low-fat dairy. Save the high protein meal — which can be harder to digest — for after practice. The best pre-practice meal is a combination of carbohydrates (say: cereal and fruit), protein (like peanut butter on toast), and maybe some low fat dairy (maybe milk in your cereal or with your toast). The amount you need depends on how long it’s been since your last meal.
  • A power smoothie, made with plain yogurt (for protein), berries (for antioxidant polyphenols), protein powder, flaxseed (for heart-healthy omega-3s) and low-fat milk or almond milk, is a perfect all-in-one breakfast to help you get going before an intense workout.
  • When making smoothies at home be sure to use the right ingredients: bananas make a great base because they’re high in fiber and potassium. For even more staying power, add some peanut butter. After training, swap out the low-fat milk for a scoop of whey or hemp protein powder for an extra dose of satiating protein. If you prefer, there are also many healthy pre-made smoothies available at stores—just be careful of the added sugars!

Here are our favorite recipes that use these nutritious ingredients:

  • Almond Butter Banana Smoothie
  • Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Onion
  • Eggs
  • Avocado (optional)
  • Begin by peeling and dicing the sweet potato into medium-sized cubes. If you’re looking for a healthier cooking alternative, try roasting the potatoes in the oven with olive oil instead of sautéing them in a pan with coconut oil. Likewise, instead of frying the eggs, try poaching or baking them! These methods require less oil and still allow you to get your protein fix.
  • Then dice bell peppers and onion and throw them in the pan with the sweet potatoes until they are soft enough to eat but still have a little crunch left. Just add some salt and pepper for flavor!
  • Once everything is cooked to perfection, crack an egg or two on top for added protein or opt for an avocado if you’re looking for a vegetarian/vegan option!

Because basketball players rely on carbohydrates for energy during their long practices, this hash is an excellent source of healthy carbs that will keep players energized throughout their workouts.

Additionally, it provides vital nutrients from vegetables that can otherwise be lacking in athletes’ diets—particularly students who may not always have access to nutritious options at school cafeterias or fast-food restaurants while they are away at practice all day. Finally, adding eggs encourages basketball players to consume more protein as well!


Lunch is a great time to make sure you are eating enough to keep your energy up for all of your training. Make sure that you eat a balanced diet and include foods from each food group.

Avoid eating too much red meat and processed items, as these can cause digestive issues during your training. Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy products and protein sources like lean meat, fish or eggs.

Eat lunch as soon as possible (within 2 hours) after practice or games if you can to replenish nutrients lost through sweat during sports performance. Finish up about 1 hour before the next training session so that the food has digested properly and won’t slow you down in your training sessions or games.

  • Roasted Chicken Served Over Quinoa And Roasted Vegetables (Like Brussels Sprouts And Sweet Potatoes). As a basketball player, you need a lot of energy for training and games. According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, the amount of food an athlete needs depends on their body size, age and gender. As a general rule, a basketball player should consume anything between 2,200 calories and 6,400 calories per day.
  • You should plan your meals around protein-rich foods like chicken breasts as well as complex carbohydrates like quinoa in order to meet your dietary goals. Eating plenty of vegetables is important too—especially roasted veggies like Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes so they cook quickly!
  • Shrimp Salad with Whole-Grain Crackers or Pita Chips. Do you play basketball? Do you want to improve your performance and feel better? What you eat is important. The right food improves your recovery and helps you perform.
  • Tuna Salad On Whole-Grain Bread or A Whole-Wheat Wrap; Serve with An Orange or Apple. To prepare, mix with a can of tuna in water. You can use whole-grain bread or a whole-wheat wrap, spread with mayonnaise and mustard. Add tomatoes and lettuce. Serve with an orange or apple.

Snack or Pregame Meal

A snack or pregame meal should be eaten 2-3 hours before game time. Your snack should contain complex carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats and be low to moderate in calories.

When choosing your snack try to avoid those that are too high in sugar and saturated fats. Consuming a high amount of these foods can cause you to feel sluggish and heavy from the extra calories consumed.

The best snacks are ones that contain foods from all food groups, as these provide nutrients essential for optimal health and performance. The snack should also be high in carbohydrates because they help increase energy and endurance for the upcoming competition.

  • 2 Slices of Whole-Grain Bread With 1 Ounce White Cheese; Serve with An Orange or Apple. Snacks should be low in fat and sugar but high in protein (and you should eat them about every two hours). Have two slices of whole-grain bread with one ounce of white cheese (like mozzarella or ricotta). Serve this with an orange or apple.
  • Bagel: The complex carbs in the whole wheat will help your body to burn energy longer, without spiking blood sugar levels.
  • Almond butter: This is a great source of healthy fats, which are necessary for cell growth and brain development. Plus it’s also a good protein source.
  • Banana: Bananas provide potassium, an electrolyte that helps prevent dehydration by regulating fluid balance in the body – especially important during exercise! They also provide complex carbs (energy!) and fiber (which keeps you feeling full longer).
  • Plain yogurt: This supplies calcium for bone health, along with some protein. Plus, it’s refreshingly cool – perfect after a hard workout!
  • Strawberries: Strawberries are high in antioxidants, which help to protect cells from damage caused by normal metabolic processes that occur in the body during exercise. They’re also high in vitamin C, which your immune system needs to keep working well so you can stay healthy!

3 To 4 Ounces Of Sliced Turkey Breast

  • 3 to 4 ounces of sliced turkey breast on whole-grain crackers; serve with baby carrots and hummus for dipping, if desired
  • ¾ cup of whole-wheat pasta or brown rice prepared in low-sodium, no-fat tomato sauce with a small tossed salad with balsamic vinaigrette
  • A fruit smoothie made from 1½ cups of frozen strawberries, ½ cup of nonfat vanilla yogurt and ¼ cup of orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (or other nut butter) on a whole-wheat English muffin; serve with a side serving of grapes


A typical dinner should include a protein source, such as grilled chicken or salmon. You can also have a carbohydrate and/or fat source such as rice, potatoes, or quinoa along with your protein. Try to include at least a small portion of vegetables or fruit with each meal.

6 ounces of cooked chicken breast

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 cup roasted broccoli

Brown Rice And Roasted Asparagus

Salmon Served Over Brown Rice And Roasted Asparagus; Top The Salmon With Hemp Seed For Extra Protein, If Desired. Add A Sweet Potato For More Complex Carbs. Oily fish like salmon are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your brain and heart.

Eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids twice a week is part of Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating.

Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate that provides slow, sustained energy. It has more fibre than white rice and contains many nutrients including B vitamins, antioxidants and iron.

Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, folate, manganese and thiamine. The green goodness also is a good source of potassium and fibre.

Here’s How To Eat Healthily

If you play basketball regularly, whether professionally or as a hobby, you may have trouble with your diet. Your body needs a lot of energy to power basketball performance, so it’s important to eat before and after games and practice.

However, because of the hectic nature of being an athlete, especially at a competitive level like the NBA or NCAA, it can be difficult to make healthy eating choices.

To prevent this problem from occurring in the first place, athletes should aim to get in three square meals per day (preferably every eight hours) at regular intervals.

It doesn’t matter how long these meals take you—in fact, taking longer can help you avoid overeating—but it’s important that you are able to consume them regularly throughout the day.

When preparing for a game or practice session, eat approximately two hours before the event begins. This will give your body enough time to digest without leading to mid-game discomfort or sluggishness as many experiences when they’ve just eaten something heavy.

After your game or practice session is over, eat within about thirty minutes for optimum recovery and energy restoration.

More, you can learn about the meal plan from the video given below, where Donovan Mitchell describes his daily routine diet plan…

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Q1. What is the best food for a basketball player?

To optimize your performance and recovery, you’ll want to focus on the following nutrients:

  • Protein. A high-protein diet will help you build muscle mass, which increases your strength and speed on the court. Without enough protein, you can lose muscle mass during training (and put yourself at risk for injury).
  • Carbohydrates. Carbs provide energy for exercise and play a crucial role in muscle repair after exercise. If you’re not getting enough carbohydrates, your body will start breaking down its own muscles for fuel—which will weaken them further!
  • Fiber. Consuming adequate fiber helps regulate digestion smoothly so that food passes through more quickly than if you had insufficient fiber intake. This means that less time will be spent digesting while still getting all the nutrients from your food into your bloodstream as soon as possible! It also results in fewer bathroom breaks during practice or games which could mean fewer interruptions or distractions altogether–keeping everyone focused on what really matters: winning 🙂

Fiber should come mostly from whole grains such as brown rice instead of white rice because it contains more vitamins/minerals which boosts energy levels too!

So when making meals make sure half of them contain these kinds of foods otherwise there won’t be enough energy available when needed most! 🙂

Q2. What should I eat before I play basketball?

When it comes to food before a game, you want something that will provide you with energy and fuel your body.

You should eat a meal high in carbohydrates (like pasta and bread) because they are easy to digest and can help with endurance. The carbs will also help keep your blood sugar levels steady so that they don’t drop too low during the game.

You should avoid foods high in fat (such as fried foods), because when fat breaks down it produces ketones which make it harder for your muscles to get enough oxygen through the bloodstream at higher speeds—like when running up and down court during a basketball game!

Eating light meals is also important; eating too much can make you feel sluggish or sleepy during the game!

Ideally, choose foods that are easy to digest like fruits or vegetables instead of heavy foods such as meat which take longer for our bodies to process than other types of food do. This will also prevent stomach ache from bloating after eating these bigger meals later on after practice has already started!

Q3. What should a basketball player eat for breakfast?

A healthy breakfast is often the best way to start your day. If you are lucky, it’s also one of the few opportunities you’ll get to fuel up before a big basketball game. Here are some quick tips on what should go into your breakfast:

  • Eat foods with lots of protein and carbs. These foods will help keep your energy levels high throughout the game, which keeps your focus sharp and helps prevent injuries from fatigue.
  • Do not eat foods that are hard for your body to digest or prepare in advance because those meals take time away from eating breakfast itself (and other important tasks).

Q4. What’s a good meal to eat before a game?

A good meal to eat before a game would be one with a lot of protein. It’s important to avoid foods that are high in fat, as the extra calories can slow you down and make it difficult for you to perform your best. You should also avoid eating too little or too much before an event, as both extremes will be detrimental to your performance.

The best meals for basketball players contain plenty of lean protein like chicken breast and fish (if these aren’t available then turkey breast is another great option), vegetables like broccoli and carrots which are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, fruit such as apples for their fructose content which helps with energy throughout the day, whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice (these help provide slow-burning complex carbohydrates), low fat dairy products such as cheese sticks or low-fat yogurt contain protein along with calcium which helps strengthen bones while keeping them healthy).

Q5. How do you prepare mentally for basketball games?

It’s a good idea to have a plan in place and stick with it. The day before the game, start by:

  • Relaxing and getting caught up on your sleep. Make sure that you get enough sleep the night before so that you feel rested and ready to play when game time comes around.
  • Eating well and staying hydrated. Eat a healthy meal before bed, then eat breakfast early in the morning so that your body has plenty of time to digest it by tip off time (usually about four hours before tipoff).
  • Don’t forget about water! You should be drinking at least eight 8 oz glasses per day—that’s two liters—to stay properly hydrated at all times, not just during practice or games!

In addition to preparing physically for this event, it’s important for players who haven’t yet reached their full athletic potential or who are new starters on their team not only get familiar with how best practices work within their particular locker room culture but also how these things work within their own personal preferences as well.”


The key to a healthy lifestyle is eating healthy on a regular basis. Above, there is a simple schedule of what you should be eating if you are trying to maintain proper nutrition for basketball players. More than likely, you will need to make adjustments to the meals listed below.

Your caloric requirements will most likely be higher than the calories amounts listed (this applies to athletes in general). Add more food if you need more calories or adjust your caloric intake if it is too high. Adjust your protein intake by increasing the amount in meals that don’t have enough.

There is no doubt that healthy eating is important for the success of all athletes. The full body workouts, athletic skills, and energy needed for all players require a wholesome diet with plenty of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, lean protein and various vitamins and minerals.

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