Eating for Optimum Performance on the Field: Youth Travel Baseball Tips & Tricks

Youth Baseball Player Drinking Chocolate Milk

No matter what time of year your youth baseball athlete plays, proper nutrition can make a huge difference in their performance on game day. The guidelines we have here are informational tips rather than actual medical advice. Parents should consult with a medical professional or their child’s pediatrician when discussing their youngster’s overall health and nutrition when it comes to being an athlete.

Read on to learn more about youth baseball player nutrition with our guide. Our tips are handy for both youth baseball coaches and parents. 

General Tips for Youth Baseball Player Nutrition

Nutrition is more than just about gameday. Youth baseball players and parents can use these guidelines for practice days, too, or anytime your youngster plans to engage in any strenuous activity. 

Acclimating to warmer temperatures is a huge aspect of ensuring a youth baseball player can handle the heat of the summer. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, athletes should spend 10 to 14 days acclimating to warmer temperatures by gradually increasing physical activity and water intake. Then, more practice time (no more than two hours a day) can happen.

Youth Baseball Player Nutrition Starts With Hydration

Getting enough water is essential for youth baseball player nutrition. Hydration should start well before the first practice and well before the first actual game. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association states boys ages 9 to 13 should drink 10 cups of water daily when they don’t have strenuous activity. Youth baseball players should drink half a cup of water every 20 minutes during physical activity, such as during workouts, practices, and games. On regular days without physical activity, drinking half a cup every two hours at school and a full cup every two hours at home is a good guideline. 

Consider a habit where your youth baseball player sips water every 15 minutes. It’s important not to drink a large amount of water all at once because that can have the negative effect of flushing out vital nutrients too quickly. Drinking too much water at once on gameday could cause stomach cramps. Serving water-rich foods, like cucumbers, oranges, or yogurt, during meals can also help hydrate your youngster.

The NATA guidelines also show parents how to make sure fluid loss during strenuous activity is replaced by taking before and after weights on a scale. Monitoring the color of urine is also a good way to see if your youth athlete is getting enough water.

Have your youth baseball player carry a water bottle around and refill it at the water fountain as needed. Let them pick out a water bottle that they like.

What Youth Baseball Players Should Eat on Game Day for Maximum Performance

Ideally, youth baseball players should have plenty of time to consume a meal three to four hours before a game. If your first game is early in the morning, this might not be possible. 

When your youth baseball team has an early morning game, consider snacks or a light meal that digests faster. High-fat foods take more time to digest. Think about these foods when you have one to two hours before the game starts:

  • One cup of low-fat flavored yogurt 
  • Bowl of low-fiber cereal with low-fat milk
  • One cup of noodles topped with parmesan cheese
  • Mini-bagel with jam and cream cheese
  • Homemade yogurt and a fruit smoothie

Your team should have these snacks an hour or two before a game after having a larger meal three to four hours ahead of game time.

When your team has enough time before a game, eat a well-balanced meal three to four hours ahead of game time. This allows healthy carbs to be fully digested and ready to go when bursts of energy are needed during game time. A well-balanced meal includes carbs, protein, and fats supplemented with fruits and vegetables.

If the meal is breakfast, consider these types of menu items:

  • Whole grain cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Fresh fruit
  • Low-fat milk
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Whole-grain toast
  • Scrambled eggs 
  • English muffin
  • Fresh fruit
  • Whole-grain waffles
  • Breakfast burrito filled with scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, and mild salsa

Mix and match these breakfast items, such as having fresh fruit on top of yogurt and granola, cereal, or waffles.

If the meal is lunch or dinner, think about these foods on the menu:

  • Grilled chicken
  • Lean beef
  • Turkey
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Whole-grain bread (including sandwiches)
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes
  • Nuts, avocados, seeds
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables

You can also mix and match these items for a hearty meal. For example, have a grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and cheese alongside a glass of low-fat milk and a cup of fresh fruit for dessert.

At Ballparks of America, we help fuel your team at The Club House. Our menu changes weekly, and it features meals for teams and coaches to prepare for games. We serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner on game days.

In-Game Nutrition

Of course, every player should be drinking water in between innings. Choose easy-to-digest foods during the game in the dugout to keep your team’s energy up. Think about these foods:

  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Granola bars
  • Crackers
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Energy bars
  • Energy chews

Sports drinks may supply youth baseball players with electrolytes during a game to give them the energy they need to perform at a high level. However, water is still the best way to hydrate.

Foods for in Between Games

Sometimes, your youth baseball team will have a quick turnaround between games or even doubleheaders during a tournament. Having a small sandwich with low-fat milk is a great way to get some nutrition between games or rely on the snacks from the bench. 

Post-Game Foods

Remember to recover after a game! Eating a well-balanced meal after a game is appropriate, too. At this point, make sure to stay hydrated and drink water with your meal, as well as some milk. There are plenty of great family-friendly restaurants in Branson!

Tips for Youth Baseball Coaches & Parents by Ballparks of America

We want your youth baseball player to get the most out of their time and efforts. If you have any questions or want to book your team for a tournament, contact us at Ballparks of America or call (417) 464-6333.


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