Aug 31, 2018
Night Before
Jonathan Tanguay

A football game is generally a weekend affair. So menus and meal times need to be planned accordingly. Here at Texas A&M University, most of our games take place on Saturdays, so on Friday evenings I like to ramp up the fueling process with a dinner that’s particularly interesting and appropriate to the occasion.

For example, we plan a BBQ-themed meal when we stay in Memphis to play the University of Mississippi, or we add some Cajun flair to the menu when at Louisiana State University. For home games we follow the same theme–we even roasted a whole pig the night before the Arkansas game–and also offer enticing entrees such as carved steamship round, ham and turkey, baked salmon, and shrimp and grits. This is done to increase menu variety, which can become stale and stagnant if it remains unchanged for too long.

The focus of this menu is getting the players as well fueled as possible. We include multiple carbohydrate and lean protein options and plenty of vegetables to ensure the right amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are being consumed. I typically choose menu items that we have had success with in the past as well as those that are specialties of local chefs.

Here is an example of a team meal served the night before a game:

  • Seasonal fresh fruit salad:

    including cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, honeydew, grapes, strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, sliced apples, kiwi

  • Green salad:

    including cherry tomatoes, sliced red onion, sliced cucumbers, baby carrots, diced boiled eggs, diced turkey, diced ham, shredded cheddar, parmesan cheese, bacon bits, croutons

  • Assorted dressings
  • Caesar salad
  • Chicken broth and chicken noodle soup (with saltines/assorted crackers to aid hydration)
  • Steamed green beans
  • Honey-glazed carrots
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sliced beef tenderloin
  • Raspberry and chipotle salmon
  • Cajun red beans and rice
  • Baked meat lasagna

Jonathan Tanguay, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, is Director of Performance Nutrition at Texas A&M University.

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