Jeetan Patel of New Zealand was watching his team bat against Ireland. It was early (about 10am) and he had clearly missed his breakfast so he was enjoying what looked like a toasted cheese sandwich.
That is a terrible food choice for a professional cricketer to be making.
Patel would have warmed up with the squad before the game and was due to bat at 11 so was unlikely to have to do much in the next few hours. Yet he was getting his fuel from processed food high in 'bad' fat: Hardly the precision eating of an elite athlete.
On the plus side, he was refueling after warm up and getting a good source of protein from the cheese, but there are far better options available.
Cricket nutrition options
Training early may mean skipping breakfast, but it would have been better to get a small meal down at least an hour before warm up started. This would have contained plenty of fruit/vegetables (for carbs) and a source of lean protein and good fat like scrambled eggs or almonds. These would provide an excellent source of energy and improve recovery time.
During and immediately after warm up, a carb/protein energy drink like Cytofuse could be used to improve performance and aid recovery. About 500ml per hour of practice should cover it.
If you know you are going to be putting your feet up after the warm up, don't eat anything for at least an hour and just finish your drink as it will provide the right fuel quickly to your muscles. If you skipped breakfast, wait for the hour to be up then have the breakfast as outlined above.
After this it's beneficial to have a meal based on vegetables and lean protein every 2-3 hours to keep your fuel topped up.
Avoid processed carbohydrate like pasta or bread and processed protein like cheese during this time. Have more fruit and vegetables instead for energy. Your body doesn't need the fuel bread provides and it doesn't need fat the cheese provides if you want to perform (and recover) at your best.
The only time bread would be a useful fuel would be a couple of hours before or directly after batting or fielding, especially when combined with lean protein. Unless the cheese was low fat, I can't see any time that would be a good choice.
Think of your processed carbs like bread and pasta as something you save up for topping up before going onto the pitch and in the 3 hours after training, batting or bowling. You can get plenty of energy from good fats, fruit, vegetables and sports drinks (during play). Leave the cheese for an occasional treat or at least switch to the low fat version.
After all, it's great to feel you are doing more for your game than internationals like Jeetan Patel.© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008