| By Irina Belfer-Lehat

High school tennis players work hard both on and off the court, and often forget about proper hydration and nutrition during tennis season.

Tennis involves intense physical activity. Nobody can predict when a match will finish until the final point is won. The best way to prepare to play tennis is to load up and hydrate ahead of time. For example, always drink extra fluids and include an extra serving of complex carbohydrates in your diet the night before. I also recommend my clients to always have snacks with them and eat them at least one hour before the match. Some sensible snacks include an orange, banana, apple, pretzels, a baked potato, or half of a bagel with peanut butter.

It is equally important to reload properly after a match. One liter of water and a balanced meal consisting of four to five ounces of lean protein, one cup of complex carbohydrates, and one serving of fruit and vegetables will help you restore your body and prepare you for your next match.

For an individual meal plan, it's always best to contact a registered dietitian who will calculate your caloric- and fluid-specific needs.

Irina Belfer-Lehat

Irina Belfer-Lehat of Nutrition Solutions Co. is a New York State-licensed dietitian and certified dietitian-nutritionist. Irina Lehat RD Nutrition Solutions offers group classes starting in September, for kids in kindergarten through high school. Small groups, affordable prices! Mention this article and receive 20 percent off any services. For more information, call (917) 769-8031, e-mail irinalehat@gmail.com or visit www.irinalehat.com.