Dining Services

Nutrition and Student Athletes

Proper nutrition makes a big difference in the ability of both serious and recreational athletes to train, perform and recover. Choosing foods to fuel fitness and stamina requires planning, scheduling and thought. The most substantial differences in the diet required by an athlete are the need for additional energy to fuel activity, and the need to replace fluid lost in sweat.

Before Exercise

before exerciseEating prior to exercise has been shown to improve performance. Meals and snacks before exercise should be high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in both fat and fiber. Pre-exercise meals and snacks need to be individualized according to the type and timing of exercise and considering foods that are easy to digest.

During Exercise

during exerciseFluid intake is key. Carbohydrate intake during exercise is important when exercising more than an hour, or if no pre-exercise meal is consumed. Carbohydrates and fluids can be consumed during exercise as a sports drink, or as water with dried fruit, a banana, sports gel or gummy candy.

After Exercise

after exerciseWithin the first 45 minutes after exercise it is crucial to replenish fluid and electrolyte losses for hydration, status, to consume carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores and to also consume protein for muscle repair and growth. Ideas of with low fat milk, eggs with whole grain toast or chocolate milk.


hydrationHydration is essential for performance and avoiding fatigue and health problems. Athletes with moderate exercise duration or intensity probably need only water. Those who exercise for more than one hour or those who sweat profusely need to replace fluid along with sodium. A glass of milk and a peanut butter sandwich are a good source of fluid, sodium, carbohydrates and protein.

Questions regarding proper nutrition for IC Student Athletes?

Please reach out to our dietitian, Natalie Nicholas, RD, an Ithaca College alumna and former IC student athlete at Natalie.Nicholas@sodexo.com.

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