The conventional wisdom that breakfast is the most important meal of the day is particularly true in the case of hockey players and other athletes. In the words of Montreal nutritionist Pearle Nerenberg, who played college hockey at Cornell University before starting a nutrition company, "If you don't start your day with a proper breakfast, your energy is lower and cravings are higher throughout the rest of the day."
Charge Your Battery
Nutritionist Nerenberg says that if hockey players don't eat a proper breakfast, they will be playing catch-up the rest of the day. You have to start with a "full battery". Even if your pre-game meal is a good one, inadequate nutrition earlier in the day is likely to take its toll during the game in terms of your endurance level and sharpness.
Big Boy's Breakfast
Lars Eller, a rookie for the Montreal Canadiens in 2010-11, is obsessive when it comes to breakfast. On game day, he drinks a whey protein shake before he leaves for the rink and then eats two eggs, oatmeal and fresh fruit after the morning skate. It's a routine that sets up the rest of the day.
A sample menu plan at the International Hockey Federation website offers more healthy breakfast possibilities. A hockey player who wants to fuel up properly can eat and drink fruit juice, fruit, cereal with low-fat milk and four slices of bread with butter or margarine and plenty of jelly or jam. Both the cereal and the bread should be whole-grain.
In addition, the basic nutritional needs for a hockey player include the right amounts of calories, carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fluids. You should consume at least 23 times your body weight in calories, writes registered dietician Leslie Bonci as ESPN.com. So a 200 pound defenseman would require at least 4,600 calories per day. A hockey player also needs three to five times his weight daily in carbohydrate grams, 0.7 times his weight in protein grams, 0.45 times his weight in fat grams and .067 times his weight fluid ounces per day. Hockey players should eat every three hours to give their bodies a consistent flow of fuel.