Updated: Aug 1, 2019
There are too many good players and too few schools to not take every opportunity to gain an advantage over your competition. Did you know that there is a smaller percentage of high school baseball players that end up playing college baseball, than college players that turn pro? You have to make sure that you beat your competition in every way possible. This means paying attention to your diet by making sure you are putting the right things in your body. Training is very important for getting ready to play at the next level, but the most overlooked area of improvement among amateur athletes is their diets. Your diet is arguably just as important as your training regiment and yet it is mostly ignored by most young athletes. I am not a nutritionist and I will not pretend to be an expert, but I have done a lot of research over the years while I was playing trying to give myself the best chance to be successful and through that I have learned a lot.
The first thing you have to do when thinking about your diet is look at your body and determine your goals. Most high school age players are trying to gain muscle and nutrition can be the most important component of that. I have heard a lot of "tricks" to help gain weight like drinking more chocolate milk or eat an entire loaf of bread worth of PB and J's. This is horrible advice. These things have little protein and a lot of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Having a good diet whether you are trying to gain muscle or lose fat is relatively simple; the hard part is having the discipline to say no to the wrong foods and to stay committed to eating the right amounts of the right foods. I am going to take you through a sample diet plan that can be used as an outline to make sure you are feeding your body the right way. At the end I will provide some alternatives for those who may like certain foods more than others or just want to spice things up. This is a bare bones, simple, and easy to follow diet plan, however every person is different and based on your body type you will have to adjust from this plan.
-- It will be very hard to gain muscle if you don't eat breakfast or eat the wrong breakfast. A lot of kids skip breakfast and then have a hard time eating enough to gain weight.
5-6 Eggs (Can use 2-3 eggs and substitute egg whites for the rest)
1 piece of fruit
--Try to avoid carbs at breakfast as this will help speed up your metabolism and help burn fat.
--Every once in awhile you can use breakfast meats to change things up but they are high in sodium and fat so this should not be a staple of your diet.
--Whenever possible use organic meats and eggs as this will help with digestion, recovery from workouts, and long term health.
1 chicken breast (or 2 if thin sliced)
1/2 (uncooked) cup of white rice
1 cup of broccoli
1 pound of ground beef
1/2 (uncooked) cup of white rice
1 cup of green beens
Choose your favorite meal from above and repeat
***If you have not experimented with your diet before, start with small changes and then keep adding in new things to improve. Trying to change everything all at once will often lead to frustration and failure to stay on track.
--If you don't like eggs and can eat meat like beef or chicken for breakfast this is a great substitution.
--Protein shakes can be used for breakfast if necessary but it is not recommended as solid food is always better for your body.
Lunch and dinner
Changing up the meats, veggies and carbs you use can be an easy way to mix up your meals if you get tired if eating the same thing.
Meats- Chicken, Ground Beef, Steak, Fish
Veggies-Broccoli, Green Beans, Spinach, Kale, Zucchini, Squash (getting a variety of colors throughout the weeks is best)
Carbs-White rice, Brown rice, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Quinoa
--Another easy way to change your meals is to vary the sauce and seasoning you use to cook your meals with.
If you are trying to gain weight, you should eat until you are full, but not uncomfortably full as you want your body to be able to digest the food you eat most effectively. Do this 4-5 times per day and pay attention to your weight and how it is changing and adjust accordingly.
Last but DEFINITELY not least, hydration. Your body cannot function properly during your training, recover from you training, or sleep properly if you are not adequately hydrated. My recommendation is to carry a water bottle with you and keep it full. If you have access to water all of the time, you will drink a lot more.
Again, this is not a scientific diet that will guarantee weight gain. Stick to meat, vegetables, and good carbs and you will be putting the right things is your body, but the amount you have to eat in order to gain weight is going to change based on the person. Remember to keep changing your meals any way you can while still sticking to good foods so you don't get tired of the same routine as this will help stay on track in the long run.