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Proper nutrition is essential for competing at the highest level and performing at the highest level. Sure you've heard stories of great baseball players like Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle who paid little attention to their health and wellness while playing. The fact is, had they maintained a proper diet and trained correctly they would have been even better.

In today's competative atmosphere an athlete needs to maintain a healthy edge which means eating right. The following information was taken from an article written by the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) Sports Sciences division.

***Be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any diet.

The following article is for/about University or College aged players.

Baseball Nutrition

The nuts and bolts of eating for training, competition, and recovery.

Baseball Basics

What drives the ball and body around the field is energy. The physiological energy source for playing baseball is primarily anaerobic-which means carbohydrate energy is key for performance plus a daily dose of high quality protein for muscle power required for strength, endurance, and recovery.

Like baseball, eating well requires skill-coordination of meals and snacks and reaction time, dietary reaction time means eating three meals plus two snacks every few hours throughout the day, with the goal of meeting calorie needs and maintaining muscle mass. Without a steady dose of protein, roughly 25 grams of protein per meal, along with substantial calories from foods like grains, pasta, rice, potatoes, beans, peas, corn, bread, vegetables, fruits and low fat dairy, injury, stress, and illness become ones' personal three strikes towards dietary disaster.

Play Ball

Eating and getting enough fluids before and after game time gives athletes the leading edge-a steal towards playing well. Getting a variety of foods throughout the day, foods like lean meats, chicken, fish, pork, eggs, and milk plus whole grains, colorful fruits and vegetables ensures that players will get enough vitamins and minerals-micronutrients that assist the body in using energy from carbohydrates, protein and fat.

Just like the glove helps to catch the ball, vitamins and minerals from fresh foods, grilled meats, deep green veggies, and fruits helps the body to use the energy from food easier. Sure, one can still eat fast foods, chips, soda and candy, but without enough vitamins and minerals and too much fat, salt, and additives that the fast foods offer will make it more difficult to feel energized, stay fit, and quickly recover from a day at the park. Ample fluids and sport drinks like Gatorade help and are critical for the final nutritional slide to home plate.

On the Road

The key to getting enough food on the road, regardless of travel or late games is to plan ahead. Take a stash of sport or breakfast bars, shakes, sport drinks, crackers, trail mix, healthy soups like vegetable, bean, noodle or minestrone, small cereal boxes, fresh fruit, and mini bagels to practice, on the bus or plane. When ordering out, have a sub with lean meat, all the vegetable fixings, and a dab of lite mayo or mustard, or try a grilled chicken salad or sandwich or grilled burger at the local fast food joint, and at a more formal restaurant go for the soup, salad, warm dinner rolls, grilled fish, seafood, poultry or game. If dessert is a tradition, try a sorbet or frozen yogurt cone. For snacks, go for some pretzels-large warm or out-of-the-bag, baked potato or tortilla chips with bean dip or salsa, or an apple, banana, pear, peach or bunch of grapes. And don't forget the fluids-without fluids, your muscles will buckle, your mind will melt, and batter will be out!

A Day in the Life of the 3,000 Calorie Baseball Diet

The typical University baseball player needs roughly 3,000 calories, 50% of those calories from carbohydrates (375 grams), about half their body weight or 1 times that amount in protein grams (weight = 200 pounds, about 100 to 150 grams) and no more than 70 grams of dietary fat from oil, nuts, butter or sauce. A recommended eating day for the 3000 calorie performance plan can be found in the sidebar.


  • Scrambled egg whites with lite cheese, greens, tomato and mushrooms
  • Whole wheat raisins bagel or wheat toast with jam and lite cream cheese
  • 1 cup lowfat milk
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup fresh fruit or banana
    Mid Morning
  • Sport shake or bar or small bag trail mix or yogurt smoothie
  • 12" turkey sub with greens, tomato, pepper, onions and lite mayo on whole wheat
  • Bag of baked chips
  • Apple
  • Gatorade or Water
    Afternoon Training
  • Gatorade or Water
    Immediately after training (within 30 minutes)
  • Smoothie, fruit bar, orange slices, banana
  • Deep green salad with tomatoes, carrots, croutons, and lite dressing
  • A few dinner rolls
  • Grilled chicken
  • Peas and corn
  • Baked potato with lite butter and chives
  • 1 glass lowfat milk
    Late Night
  • Lite popcorn, fresh fruit, pretzels, baked chips, lite ice cream, yogurt or sorbet
For further reading on nutrition in baseball - check out these links:

The Complete Pitcher - What to Eat Prior to Pitching in a Baseball Game - Baseball Specific Nutrition Articles

Additional Training Resources
  • Develop a Strength Program That Fits Your Needs
  • Long Toss to Improve Your Arm Strength
  • View a Sample Workout from a Top 25 Division 1 Baseball Program
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