We all know the saying, “You are what you eat.” So what should you eat if you want to become a better golfer? The truth is, nutrition is important not only for high-intensity sports but for less intense sports like golf as well.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of our top10 healthy foods for optimized nutrition and golf performance. We’ve focused on pre-round nutrition and mid-round snacks to ensure that you’re always at the top of your nutrition game.
Get your nutrition right, and you’ll find that you’re hitting the golf ball further, getting fewer injuries, and enjoying your round more!
Before Your Round
Your pre-round meal should set you up for an energetic round. Whether you’re eating breakfast or lunch before you hit the course, here’s what it should contain to give you the best boost.
Protein and healthy fats often come together. A good dose of protein in this meal (and every meal) will help to keep you fuller for longer, so you won’t necessarily feel nibbly during your round, at least for the first few holes.
Lean proteins are best, and they still contain healthy fats. Chicken, turkey, and fish are preferable to beef, as they offer more protein and less fat per gram, as well as fewer calories. However, you can still switch to red meat on occasion, depending on your preferences.
Potatoes, quinoa, whole-grain pasta, or whole-grain bread are good choices here. These carbs provide energy that the body will draw on during the upcoming exercise.
Because whole-grain starches are generally medium GI, they take a longer time to digest. It works with the protein to keep you full for a longer period of time, as well as releasing energy slowly as you work your way through the first few holes.
Fruits or Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are low-calorie and high in nutrition. Try to choose low-GI fruits and veggies, which will release energy slowly. Aside from being healthy and low-calorie, fruits and vegetables contain high levels of important vitamins and minerals.
During Your Round
What you eat during your round is as important as what you eat before it. Fuel yourself smartly throughout your round, and you’ll find that you perform better.
High-GI fruits can help you to maintain your energy levels throughout the first few holes. You may want to think about which fruits would suit you best here. Oranges tend to be sticky, which may be a deal-breaker for some.
Bananas are an excellent choice as they’re easy to carry, easy to peel and eat, taste great, and offer a nice natural sugar boost. Apples are also great and are known to provide a mental boost as well.
Yogurt & Berries
This combo offers a good mix of protein and carbs. Choose Greek yogurt for the best nutrition, and pair it with strawberries or blueberries.
The yogurt provides a touch of protein and eases up any potential digestive issues. Berries are loaded with antioxidants, and they also give you a nice little dash of sugar. They’re tasty, too!
Nuts are great to snack on as you work your way through your round. They contain a bit of protein and a lot of healthy fat, and they're convenient to keep in a pocket or golf bag.
We recommend choosing raw, unsalted nuts. The salted variety could cause you to dehydrate quickly or need a bathroom break much quicker than usual!
If you want to make your own trail mix, try adding some dark chocolate chips, raisins, and dried fruit (in moderation) to your nuts.
A granola bar is also convenient and offers a good carbohydrate boost when your energy is flagging. You can buy them (do your research here to find natural, healthy ones) or make your own, which can be fun and even more nutritious.
Eggs are a great protein boost and they can easily be prepared beforehand and taken along in your golf bag or in a cooler. The protein and healthy fats give you a long-lasting energy boost without spiking your blood sugar.
You can sprinkle a touch of salt on them before chowing down if you don’t like the plain egg, but this could be a little tricky on the course.
A protein shake is an excellent choice if you want something on the go but don’t really want to slow down to chew. It also helps you stay hydrated!
Make sure to choose a high-quality protein. Whey or whey isolate are the optimal choices, as they’re easily absorbed by the body and can quickly be utilized for energy.
If you want a small carb and fat boost, go for regular whey. If you’re looking for something lower in calories, whey isolate is your best bet. Those who are lactose intolerant should opt for an isolate!
Another tasty way to get some protein in! Beef, turkey, or chicken jerky is easy to keep with you while you’re out and about and it offers a good dose of protein in a small, calorie-friendly bite. Try to go for an all-natural brand that isn’t too high in sodium.
If you want to get in your protein, carbs, and fats all in one go, cut up some jerky and throw it into your trail mix for a bit of a savory, salty flavor!
Nutrition varies from person to person, but if you follow these guidelines, you’ll be putting yourself in the best position for a great round of golf every time you play. Can you believe that getting your nutrition right can take you from an average golfer to a great one?
Of course, don’t forget to hydrate as well! Stick to water rather than sports drinks. If you need to, we highly recommend taking along an electrolyte tablet so that you have some backup if you start feeling like you need to replenish.
Just because golf is a more relaxed, less intense sport, it doesn’t mean you can neglect your nutrition and still play well. Also, don’t forget to have a well-rounded, nutritious meal after your round to replenish!
No matter what kind of golfer you are, fixing your nutrition could be the thing you’re missing to add distance to your drives, energy to your swing, and have you hitting the golf ball further than you thought you could!