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How to Fuel Up for Your Next Pickleball Match

How to Fuel Up for Your Next Pickleball Match

  • Have you ever felt completely drained after a pickleball match? If you’re feeling sluggish, nutrition might be to blame.
Nutritious Food

If you want to win more pickleball games, it’s time to get in the kitchen. 

No, not the pickleball-style kitchen. The original kitchen – you know, the one in your house. 

The food you eat impacts your energy levels, physical fitness, and overall health. It’s only natural that it impacts your pickleball game, too. 

If you’ve been struggling on the pickleball court – or feel like your performance has plateaued – examining how you’re fueling your body can help. We broke down how to approach fueling up before, during, and after your match to help you perform your best on the court. 

Nutritious food

Before Your Pickleball Match

It’s important to properly fuel your body before stepping on the court, but you don’t want to eat a meal that makes you feel sluggish or low-energy. Finding the right meal and the right time frame in which to eat it is a delicate balancing act. You’ll figure out what works best for you over time, but these guidelines can provide a starting point for experimentation. 

Four Hours Before

Ideally, eating a well-balanced meal approximately three to four hours before your match will give your body enough time to digest. 

A balanced pre-match meal should include carbohydrates, like pasta or potatoes, and include small portions of fat and protein. Some popular options for a pre-match meal include:

  • An omelet with toast and fruit
  • A protein-packed wrap 
  • A classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Two Hours Before

If you need to eat several hours before a match, reach for something that provides nutrients that you can digest quickly. Some of our favorite options include: 

  • A fruity-packed smoothie
  • An apple smeared with peanut butter
  • A yogurt cup with fruit and granola

Under an Hour Before

Pressed for time? Skip the full meal or large snack and choose something small instead. When you have just minutes until it’s time to start warming up, you need a snack that will keep your stomach from growling, provide some nutrients, and be easy to digest. Some excellent pre-match snacks are:

  • A small portion of fruit
  • A snack-sized package of nuts
  • A handful of trail mix

And, of course, drink plenty of water before heading out to the court! Remember, by the time you’re thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Fill up your water bottle and start sipping long before your match begins!

During Your Pickleball Match

Think back to your last grueling pickleball match. Did it last for more than an hour? Take place in the summer? Leave you sweating and overheating? 

It’s always important to drink plenty of water during a match. During long matches, though, you’ll likely need an extra boost. 

Before hitting the courts, swing by the grocery store for a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade to provide some needed electrolytes. If you want a more natural option, coconut water has naturally-occurring electrolytes. You can also toss an electrolyte solution like LMNT into your bag to mix into a water bottle. 

Long matches can also make you hungry. Toss some snack-sized portions of nuts or a few granola bars into your bag to munch on between games. These are also great snack options for refueling between matches at a tournament. If you’re on the tournament circuit, a small cooler with some fruit or an applesauce pouch can help you prepare for your next opponent.  

After Your Pickleball Match

Whew! After battling through a pickleball match – and hopefully earning a victory – it’s time to replenish your energy and fluids.

Refill your water bottle so you can continue to stay hydrated, and keep sipping on your electrolyte drink. 

You might not be absolutely famished after your match, especially if it was short. Still, aim to at least eat a protein-packed snack like trail mix or hummus within an hour of wrapping up exercise.

If you’re craving a full meal, don’t skimp on the protein. Skip the hamburger and reach for a yummy stir-fry, veggie omelet, or taco bowl. All three options are packed with protein, carbs, and nutrients. You’ll be ready to hop back on the court before you know it!

Our Favorite Pickleball Snacks

Looking for a snack or drink to throw in your pickleball bag? We’ve got you covered! Here are five of our favorite staples:

Jigsaw Pickleball Cocktail

Add this drink mix to your water each morning to improve your pickleball game and start your day strong. Designed for pickleball players, it provides as much potassium as two bananas, as well as plenty of magnesium and sodium to keep you hydrated.

LMNT Recharge Electrolyte Pack

These electrolyte powders can be easily mixed into your water bottle to help you recharge while on the go. The ingredients also align with the keto, low-carb, and paleo diets, so you can use them without sacrificing your dietary goals.

Jif To Go Creamy Peanut Butter

Toss one of these handy peanut butter packs in your pickleball bag for a filling snack. Smear it on celery sticks, apples, or bananas for a tasty snack that provides protein and other nutrients.

Nature’s Garden Healthy Trail Mix Snack Packs

These individual trail mix packs are packed with fruits, nuts, and seeds. Their all-natural ingredients offer a guilt-free way to refuel before, during, or after a grueling match.

Epic Snack Strips Variety Pack

If you find yourself famished after an intense pickleball match, make sure you have jerky within reach! This natural, protein-packed snack will satisfy your hunger cravings after you step off the court. 

It’s time to hit the court!

Pickleball can be a grueling game, which makes nutrition even more important. Developing a nutrition routine can help you elevate your game and perform at your best, but it takes time to create a refueling strategy that works for you. 

Experiment with different combinations of meals, drinks, and snacks, and pay attention to your body. Then, leave your home kitchen for the pickleball kitchen. You’ve earned it!

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