How to feed your wrestler

Chantielle Harris, Nutritionist

First things first- 

Understand that  Food=Energy. Once you understand that concept you can look at this seminar more so like how to fuel my wrestler. 

—if you went out of your way to purchase a race car–it would require a specific type of fuel to run correctly right? Feeding your wrestler- or any athlete is the same exact thing. So from now on when choosing food options for your wrestler- or for yourself even if you are an athlete- think to yourself “will this fuel give me what I need to be fast, strong, and stable, or could this possibly slow me down or give me cramps, etc? 


Let’s break down the 3 macronutrients often referred to as “macros” that your body uses to metabolize and create energy. 

  • Protein
  • Fats
  • Carbs 


Adequate protein is important for muscle recovery and muscle growth


  • Fats are good to help the body absorb vitamins, such as vitamins a,d, and e, and support cell function 
  • There are many types of fats, and some should only be consumed in moderation as they can increase LDL which leads to a plethora of health issues in the long run
  • There is such a thing as good fats, which increase your hdl and help fight the effects of bad fats. 
  • Bad fats: trans and saturated fats 
  • Good fats: Monounsaturates, and polyunsaturated


  • Contrary to what diet  culture would like you to believe- carbs are your body’s preferred source for energy
  • However, like fats, there are different types and some should only be consumed in moderation. 
  • Carbs are broken into 2 types: Simple & complex
  •  Simple carbs are readily available to use for energy- however they are not sustainable and can often lead to a crash. If most of your carbs are simple carbs it will be easier to overeat as they do not last long and are digested right away. 
  • Complex carbs digest more slowly and can help you feel full longer and provide more sustainable energy for longer periods of time, which will prevent overeating, or binge eating. . 

Fiber is usually listed under carbs even though it is not actually a carb but it does help with digestion. Adequate fiber can control cholesterol levels, & bowel regularity, 

Your athlete should consume adequate fiber daily, however low fiber on competition days 


Adequate fiber is generally 25 grams- for boys age 14-18 it can be closer to 30 grams daily. 

High Fiber foods include;  

Micro Nutrients


  • Most important for wrestlers
  • Calcium/Magnesium/Potassium
  • Why? For strong bones, less cramping
  • Where to get these minerals 
yogurtBrown ricepotatoes
Cheese (low-fat)cashews/almondsapricots
kalechardBeet greens/spinach


  • Vitamin b= Energy  /vitamin d- strong =bones and joints/ vitamin c=immune system support 
  • Vitamin b is in most cereals, spinach, bananas, avocado, salmon, beef, sunflower seeds, and broccoli 
  • Vitamin d is readily available from the sun- go outside :), It can also be found in milk, salmon, and eggs 
  • Vitamin c is available in high amounts  via citrus fruits, cherries, guavas, thyme, and parsley 


  • Adequate hydration reduces muscle fatigue, heat exhaustion, and cramping. It also lubricates joints and tissues. 
  • Athletes lose most of their fluid via sweat. 
  • Adequate water recommendation is ½ oz per body weight.
  • Adequate hydration can be seen via urine. Urine the color of lemonade shows that your wrestler is hydrated well. A darker colored urine with an odor indicates that your wrestler needs hydration as soon as possible.

Refueling during competition days

Refueling during a competition is slightly different from daily nutrition fueling. 

During competition your wrestler has released energy and will need quick energy right away– (simple carbs are the quickest available form of energy) So how do I Refuel my wrestler without expecting a crash or cramping? 

Remember the following– low fat, low fiber, less filling. 

Feed in small portions in between matches: for ex; 1/2 pb & j or 1/2 bagel thin.

Best choices for refueling during competition 


  • PB&J(1/2)
  • Fruit smoothie- low fiber fruits (use small pouches or 4 oz cups)
  • Goldfish (use the serving sz listed on the package)
  • Small Pretzels (use the serving sz listed on the package)
  • Turkey sandwich (1/2 sandwich)
  • Cheerios (use the serving sz listed on the package)
  • Granola (use the serving sz listed on the package)
  • Cliff bars
  • Graham and/ or animal crackers (use the serving sz listed on the package)
  • Low fat trail mix (use the serving sz listed on the package)
  • Bagel thin with peanut butter (1/2)
  • Eng muffin with jam (1/2)

Low fiber fruits

  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Berries
  • Pineapples fresh or dried
  • Berries
  • Raisins
  • Dried mango

Sports drinks-

  • Body armor
  • Gatorade
  • Pedialyte  

Best food choices post competition 

(Protein + complex carbs for muscle recovery, energy, and strength)

  • Grilled chicken/fish/ or turkey 
  • Potatoes
  • Pasta (mac n cheese, spaghetti)
  • Rice
  • Bread (whole grain or seeded)
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Chard 
  • Bagel with low fat cream cheese
  • lean Burger on bun with avocado, lettuce and tomato

Cutting weight 

Metabolism wreckoning—- what is it? This is what happens after bouts of under and over eating. When you eat too little you can release fat quickly until you can’t- your body will begin to fight you. 

After undereating you will definitely find yourself in a bingle phase- thus interrupting the way your body’s mechanics work naturally. This is why you will find that it is easy to gain 4-5-10 lbs in a week or even a few days after making weight or post season. Your metabolism has slowed down and has not had the time to get back on track.

Safety first

The best way to cut weight is to maintain 75-80 percent overall healthy lifestyle. To eat enough calories that are nutrient dense foods. To maintain an average of 5-8 lbs of your  competition weight.

It is healthy to lose 1-2 lbs weekly. You can also lose approx 3 lbs of water weight either week 1 of cutting.

If you have 10 lbs to lose you should assume that it will take you 8-10 weeks to reach that weight following a plan where your wrestlers are in a calorie deficit of no more than 500-800 calories (to keep your strength) 

Keep in mind that youth athletes require anywhere from 2500-4000 calories… so a 1200 calorie diet would absolutely wreak havoc on your athletes metabolism. 

Off season 

In the off season your wrestler should still eat as clean as he or she can. 

Use the 75/25 rule

75 percent of your food choices are clean, whole foods as a first choice , lean protein, complex carbs,  and fresh vegetables.

25 percent of food choices can be treats 🙂   

Top 10 Power foods for wrestlers 

  1. Fresh Fruit 
  2. Whole grains
  3. Low fat dairy
  4. Lean Protein 
  5. Dark vegetables 
  6. Nuts/Seeds
  7. salmon/tuna
  8. Peanut Butter
  9. Eggs
  10. Baked or sweet potatoes

If you are interested in knowing exactly how much your wrestler should be eating and possibly even a receiving a meal plan or prepped meals do not hesitate to reach out. I am available for bookings via the services tab on the home page 🙂

Stay trippy lil hippie,


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