We all know that food is fuel. Whatever we take in determines how well we perform physically and mentally. When you’re playing golf, what you eat before and during the game will either hold you back or boost your performance. Serious athletes and pro golfers take their diet as seriously as their sports.
You can eat or drink whatever you want if you’re not too serious about golf or if you’re just there to have a good time. You can load up your cooler with beer and eat every snack in sight at the golf course – all those fatty, salty, and sugary foods and snacks. If the golf club allows, you can even grill (here’s what to read if you need the ultimate guide to grilling ) your favorite BBQ. But if you want optimum performance, a healthy and balanced diet is the key.
Here are some tips for choosing some food to eat on the golf course:
1. Don’t show up empty-handed.
Not packing some light snacks on the golf course is one of the worst mistakes you can make. You can’t play at your highest potential because you’re hungry and lack energy. It’s also important to bring water so you can stay hydrated until you can have a nice lunch at your golf course.
2. Drink your coffee guilt-free.
When golfing, you need to have a calm and precise touch. Instinct may tell you to avoid coffee, but the opposite is true. Far from being detrimental for your game, coffee can be good for golfers, as long as you consume it at the right time and right dosage.
A pre-round of coffee can up your energy level, helping you stay alert during your round. Make sure you finish your coffee up to an hour before your round. A 16-ounce latte with low-fat, skim milk can also give you protein that can help you sustain that energy.
3. Eat your breakfast.
Eating breakfast will not only allow you to increase your energy levels but also prevent you from having hunger pangs that will haunt you later. If you didn’t eat breakfast on your golfing day, hunger would make you desperate to get something in your stomach, making you more likely to gorge on anything you can find. You need to use food as fuel to maintain a nice and steady energy level throughout your entire round. Not skipping breakfast in the morning sets you up to make better food choices all day.
4. Prepare protein-rich, power-packed, healthy snacks.
Snacking throughout your round is a healthy habit that any golfer must take on board. And when packing snacks, you have to look for higher-protein options that provide some sustenance and steady energy.
Trail mix is a convenient snack filled with protein and healthy fats, making it an excellent source of energy at the golf course. It’s better to make your own trail mix to keep it healthy. Toss mixed nuts, dried fruit (in moderation), and even dark chocolate for a quick energy boost. Stir them up and pack them in small plastic bags.
Any jerky will do – whether beef, chicken, or turkey; they are packed with protein that gives you a boost in energy without leaving you feeling heavy in your stomach. Natural jerky is ideal because they are lower in sodium.
Popcorn is a high-fiber snack that can satisfy the cravings for something crunchy. Make your own popcorn and go easy on the butter and unhealthy fats. Salt it lightly and bag it.
Peanut butter sandwich
Peanut butter is high in healthy fats and proteins, making it a solid choice for a golfer. When choosing bread, make sure to use wheat bread, as it comes with a fair amount of fiber that slows down digestion. You may also want to throw in some banana slices for an additional energy source.
Eggs are high in protein and are great for maintaining focus and energy. Plus, they’re easy to carry and eat.
Ham and turkey roll-ups
Put ham and turkey slices in a sandwich bag for a high-protein snack option besides jerky.
You can’t go wrong with carrot sticks, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and bell peppers. They have lots of fiber that can help fill you up and help you focus on your game. You can make a vegetable salad with a fork and dressing packed separately if you want.
Made from chickpeas, hummus is an excellent source of fiber, protein, and carbohydrates.
Crackers can help fill you up and prevent you from getting too hungry before lunchtime. Eat fiber crackers plain, or use hummus or peanut butter as a spread.
Granola or protein bars
Store-bought granola or protein bars can deliver health benefits, but many are loaded with sugar and other additives. But these foods can help you finish strong by giving you a burst of energy. With that said, it’s best to consume these when you need a boost at crunch time.
5. Mix carbs with protein.
Carbohydrates aren’t that bad. To have a healthy diet, it’s important to include carbs and understand what they do best. Carbs can offer quick and intense jolts of energy, which is super helpful for golfers as long as they stick to a 2:1 protein-to-carbs ratio. You need the combination of carbs and protein to make sure you maintain your energy and keep you feeling satisfied throughout your round.
6. Eat fibrous carbs.
Fibrous carbs like fruits such as bananas, grapes, blueberries, and apples are a great way to start your day, and they are also an easy healthy snack to bring on the golf course. These fruits are full of carbs to increase your energy, and they are also fibrous.
7. Drink lots of water.
Water is hands down the best thing to drink, whether you’re playing golf or not. Sports drinks and energy drinks may offer you a burst of energy and replenish electrolytes; they are often loaded with sugar.
It’s recommended to drink a glass of water at least an hour before your planned golfing activity. As the sport entails hours of exertion, it’s essential to be properly hydrated.
8. Eat strategically.
Something else to consider is your strategy when eating your meals and snacks. Once you know which foods to choose, you must also eat certain foods at certain times. Golf is a long game that can go on for several hours, so your body needs different sorts of energy. You must eat at least a few times during a game of golf.
Whether you want food that will offer you slow-burning energy or a sudden spurt of high energy – the secret will be the food you eat.
9. Maintain your energy with proteins and healthy fats.
A couple of hours into your game, you’re sure to be hungry. This is what your protein-rich snack is for. Ideally, the carbs you ate from earlier must have kept you energized at the start of your day, but now that your motor is running, you want to eat something more substantial. This is where a beef, chicken, or turkey jerky will serve you well. Yogurt is also a good call, as well as a peanut butter sandwich if you want something moderately hearty.
10. Know what foods to avoid.
There are foods and drinks you must avoid because they contain too much sugar, too high in sodium, too much caffeine, empty calories, bad fats and excessive carbs, and sedative effects. But it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them – you can eat them after the round. Consume any guilty-pleasure foods long before or soon after golf rather than between nines.
Don’t eat greasy or carb-filled foods before your game – they will weigh down your swing. Save your hankering for a greasy cheeseburger for lunch at the golf course restaurant later. Here are some drinks and foods you may need to avoid while you’re on a golf game:
- French fries
- Fried breakfast
- Soft drinks and soda
- Energy and sports drinks
- Beer and other alcoholic beverages
11. Always eat a post-golf lunch.
Golf may not look like a strenuous sport, but after 18 to 36 holes have been played, your body will need to replenish itself. Eat a good, large lunch meal packed with proteins, carbs, nutrients, and even some beneficial fats after your outdoor physical activity. Grabbing post-golf lunch (or dinner) with your golf buddies is a fun way to end your day.