The following are suggestions on what our soccer players should eat and avoid eating on game and practice days. Don’t let pass more than 2-3 hours before you eat a small healthy snack such as a handful of trail mix, some fruit (banana, grapes, oranges), or vegetables (e.g. 3. So, if your glycogen storages are full the morning of the game, then that is perfect. If you have a morning game, a substantial dinner the night before or late-night snacking can boost your liver glycogen stores, although you run some risk of putting on body fat if you eat heavily at the end of the day. Eat early, and eat often; following your morning meal add in apples, pears, pretzels, sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade, any dried fruit and low-fat yogurt. Then drink another glass about a half and hour to an hour before your event as well. WHAT TO EAT & DRINK BEFORE A GAME . Trade in white rice for the bounty of great whole grains: barley, cracked wheat (bulgur), oat berries, quinoa, brown rice, and a host of others. • Recovery drink post-workout: Low-fat chocolate milk and banana. Excessive amounts of sugar (and carbohydrates which break down into sugar) in addition to weight gain is a leading cause of diabetes and tooth decay. Stock your kitchen with good-quality tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, fresh and dried herbs, dried cherries or cranberries, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and a variety of unsalted nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, and pistachios). Donuts, cookies, chips – Very little nutritional value; high in sugar and/or salt and additives. Watermelon dipped in salt provides an energy boost, rehydrates and replaces electrolytes at the same time. Grains. Here’s a healthy breakfast smoothie suggestion that you can make that will get your day jump started: Blend 1 cup 100% orange juice, 1/4 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blackberries, one banana, 1/4 cup ground flax seed meal and one cap full of Nature’s Way Alive! In case you are counting, this smoothie contains 290 calories, 41 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 22 g protein, and 5 g fat. If you anticipate burning 600 calories, then eat 300 calories at the pre-game meal. Eating During Competition During the game, carbohydrate supplement drinks given before the game and at halftime have been shown to increase running volume and intensity in the second half in soccer players. Wrap tightly in the foil and put in the refrigerator over night or in a freezer for a couple of hours. On hot days, try frozen grapes. You can download the file here: Nutritional Recommendations For Soccer Players. Here’s a recipe for a quick meal on the go pre or post game rejuvenator: Blend 1 cup low or fat-free milk, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup uncooked old-fashioned oats (or for more protein, substitute quinoa for oatmeal), and 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed. Rather, if your pre-game meal is less than ideal, you should ease into something better. Nature provides all the choice we need for presoccer nutrition. Note on milk:  For children who are not lactose-intolerant or allergic to dairy products, milk is one-stop shopping for nutrition. Fruit provides fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. Make this mostly carbohydrates with a little protein and make sure it’s a familiar food that you know you digest well. Healthy eating begins in the kitchen, whether it’s in a home, restaurant, dining hall, or other venue. If your soccer practice is in the morning, eat your meal one to three hours before. One of the most important factors is how often you eat during the day. This is one of the most important meals of the day. You might have your own routine established and if so, you shouldn’t suddenly change it. Whole milk contains about 4% saturated fat, while low-fat milk contains 2% fat and skim milk 0%. Read more about fats and health, or try these recipes that use healthy fats. Nutritional experts say  – “Color your plate in every meal  – eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day – the brighter the better” –  The brighter, deeper colored fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants—and different colors provide different benefits. You can brown the beef or chicken ahead of time and just assemble the night you need to eat. Mac and Cheese  Try to avoid Kraft and other more commercial brands as they contains too much salt and a lot of unnecessary chemical additives, preservatives, food colors, flavor enhancers, etc. Read about whole grains and health or try these whole grain recipes. Try whole wheat pasta or one of the whole wheat blends now on the market. The rule of thumb is to eat half of the calories that you expect to burn during the game. Read more on what makes a healthy diet by clicking here. Excellent ball-handling skills and an enjoyment of running help players perform at their best, and so does proper nutrition. Eating breakfast within an hour of waking up is essential for energy balance, recovery and weight maintenance. Other energy bar suggestions click here. Put all ingredients in a food processor   and run until all ingredients are mixed together well and start to form a ball. She also writes a well-regarded political commentary column published in Fairfield, New Haven and Westchester counties in the New York City metro area. within 30 minutes after intense activity and again 2 hours later. Quickly digested, smart carbohydrate foods help energy levels more than proteins, fats and fibers which are not as easily digestible. Here are some items to avoid eating as part of a pregame meal. Fast foods from places like McDonalds are very high in calories, trans fats, salt and sugar. So if one is not getting enough exercise and is not burning off all the calories consumed from a daily diet, weight gain occurs. Suggestions: If your child has a game in the morning it is probably best to steer away from foods high in fiber such as pancakes and waffles as these can sit in the stomach and take a long time to digest and slow them down during game time. Note on smoothies: Smoothies are a good way to make sure your kids get their daily allowance of fruit especially if your kids don’t like to eat fruit. Many soccer players have rituals bordering on superstition when it comes to what they eat before a game. Nutritional Recommendations For Soccer Players. Fresh fruit e.g., apples, pears, strawberries, mangos, etc. Drink Water Throughout the Day . Don't overdo it and consume too many carbohydrates before playing sport, as this will direct blood to your digestive system instead of your muscles when you become active. Very light and thin. After the game or event, experts recommend eating carbs (fruit, pretzels, a sports drink, milk, chocolate milk, etc.) If you’re in any doubt, it makes sense to eat earlier rather than later . Without adequate, balanced nutrition, you won’t have enough energy to play your best. Eating between four and two hours beforehand allows the body enough time to digest the food and store the calories for later use. Here are a couple of suggestions of complete liquid and powder vitamin and mineral supplements:  1) Nature’s Way Alive! Fatty foods. Take out and roll out into a long cigar shape on a piece of aluminum foil. by Jeff Natt . Morning … You also might rush to the game without having eaten all day. Many sports drinks contain large quantities of sugar – in some cases, as much as 18 percent and salt. It contains nearly all the basic nutrients that a growing child needs: fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals (except iron). Ground flaxseeds provide a dose of omega-3 fatty acids that can lower cholesterol. Most important of all is keeping calories in check by keeping the portions in check, so you can avoid weight gain, which makes exercise a key partner to a healthy diet. An all time favorite is the fruit kabob. A child’s body will be rebuilding muscle tissue and replenishing energy stores and fluids for up to 24 hours after the competition. Before a soccer game, you need to consume a large quantity of carbohydrates, a moderate amount of protein and a low amount of fat. Soccer requires speed, endurance, a consistent energy supply and focus. But be careful of commercial smoothies, which are loaded with unnecessary sugar and are very high in calories. Produce. So it’s important that the post-game meal be a balance of lean protein (grilled or baked fish or grilled chicken), carbs (rice, pasta), and fat (dairy products). The added fruit will give you that quick jolt of energy you need to get your engine started. To get the most out of the recipes you prepare, keep your kitchen stocked with these healthy ingredients: 1. Check your local vitamin shop or supermarket and compare products and prices. The following are suggestions on what our soccer players should eat and avoid eating on game and practice days. So sound advice would be to reduce all foods that are high in saturated fat such as butter, cheese, ice cream, eggs, fried foods and high fat red meat. Adding to the smoothie a powdered or liquid vitamin and mineral supplement, you can make sure your kids get more than their daily allowance of vitamins and minerals in just one glass of their favorite smoothie. Two days before a game, you should really load up on carbs that will keep you with enough energy for the next game. If your child has an early morning game or practice, here's some advice on what and when she should eat for peak athletic performance. Finally, eat oats -- the magnesium they contain keeps muscles and nerves functioning properly. Prepare a pregame snack of carbohydrates, such as a bagel with peanut butter, oatmeal, a banana, yogurt or similar food. What matters even more than what you eat is when you eat. There has been a lot of discussion about whether one should avoid whole milk. Long gone are the days when players will drink a soda and eat a pie before training or a match. Whenever possible, eliminate all snacks just before meal time. When I hang out with my younger cousins, I cringe as Isabella, 11, tells me she ate PopTarts before her soccer game. carrots, celery with a dip like hummus). Milk or chocolate milk  – Milk contains electrolytes (sodium, potassium and other minerals), which are lost through sweat and must be replenished after exercise. Or when Frankie, 10, says he had a burger in the middle of his little league doubleheader. Robyn. A player must eat before and after practice to maintain energy levels, weight and muscle mass. Experiment, make your own energy bars and save money. You want to eat a high carbohydrate dinner the night before competition and a light breakfast the morning of. Some examples of sweet vegetables are corn, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes or yams, winter squash, and onions. “Foods like lower fiber rice, pasta, and breads are good options.” This is important to consider because goals become more frequent later in … Read more about omega-3 fatty acids and why they are so important to good health. Large amounts of fluids will take away hunger and fill the stomach with low-value volume. Many top athletes consider "carb loading" an essential pregame practice. Don’t forget to shop fresh and local whenever possible. For more in-depth discussion about milk and children by noted child pediatrician Dr. Sears, click here. Too much salt can eventually lead to high blood pressure. Consuming carbohydrate at least an hour before kick off allows any hormonal imbalance to return to normal. They should drink while they eat and afterwards. Breakfast before a soccer game should be at least two hours prior. Especially soccer thats a lot of running. Oats are fiber-rich and digest slowly, providing long-lasting energy. As any parent knows, it can be challenging to get kids to eat healthy snacks. This allows for a relatively slow release of glucose into the blood and avoids the insulin surge. Kids need to drink water or other fluids every 15 to 20 minutes during physical activity. Make sure your Mid-day game If your child is sensitive to high fiber foods, it may be best to avoid them until after the game. Morning game . Fats and oils. List of Common Fast-Acting Carbohydrates for Post-Workout. A meal 3-4 hours before a game or practice should be rich in complex carbohydrates and a moderate amount of protein but be low in fat and excessive fiber because fat and fiber takes longer to digest, which can cause an upset stomach and slow your child down. Blueberries have a very high amount of antioxidants and help neutralize free radicals caused by exercise. You should avoid foods and drinks with lots of sugar (yes, including coca-cola), since they create blood sugar pikes. What to Eat for Energy Before a Football Game, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights. Worked for me I guess. Two bananas, two heaping tablespoons of peanut butter, two table spoons of    chocolate chips (preferable dark chocolate), milk (or almond or soy milk). Fruit: A wide variety of fruit is also vital to a healthy diet. Personally, I like to eat about 2.5 hours before kick-off if I can, that works just fine for me. You will want to eat a … Whenever a whole teams knows these soccer player eating tips before and after games it helps with performance. Coconut water replaces electrolytes lost during sweaty matches; potassium-, vitamin C- and prebiotics-packed bananas help, too. Here’s 5 Quick Tips on Stocking a Healthy Kitchen, from the Harvard School of Public Health: 2. Include large portions of grains or pasta, vegetables and small to medium portions of beans, chicken, fish, or meat. 5 years ago. The local farmer’s market, fruit stand or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group are great ways to get access to fresh, local produce. But you wouldn’t know that from news reports on diet and nutrition studies, whose sole purpose seems to be to confuse people on a daily basis. To properly fuel the body, a student-ath - lete’s day should focus on six fueling times: • Snack before morning training: Slice of wheat bread and peanut butter. For more info click here. Easy-to-chew dates provide quickly digestible simple carbohydrates. Oatmeal, bananas and energy bars such as Clif Bars, Zone Bars and Power Bars provide calories that the body converts to energy easily -- that means faster running without the pains and hassles of a full belly. When you shop, select produce that looks good, or what’s on sale. Also, at the game, have both water and a sports drink. Sweet vegetables: Naturally sweet vegetables add healthy sweetness to your meals and reduce your cravings for other sweets. Game-Day. Sports drinks are designed to provide energy and replace electrolytes — such as sodium and potassium — that athletes lose in sweat. Tips on energy bars:  A well balanced energy bar that is loaded with whole grains, nuts, seed and dried fruit and doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup or a ton of processed sugar will go a long way in providing sustained energy. Choose locally grown vegetables and fruits whenever you can. 1-2 Hours Before Game Time/Between Events “Starch-based meals should be the focus, says Turner. Play around until you find the combination that you like. The answer to the question “What should you eat?” is actually pretty simple. A granola bar or half a sandwich can also work. Hydrate! Make breakfast the night before. Your muscles store around 300 to 400 grams of carbohydrates, and a soccer practice depletes about half of that. Some players may need to practice at 7:00 AM in the morning if that’s when the soccer venue is open or the time when all players have available. I would usually eat 30 to 45 minutes before to let things settle. 5. Bedtime snack 10 Healthy Soccer Snacks for your Soccer Team Snack List . Snacks before game and/or in between meals, Eat healthy carbohydrate-rich snacks 1-2x between meals, Lionel Messi prefers eating tropical fruit 75-90 minutes before kick off. Not all meals are created equal, however; for maximum performance on the field, choose foods that provide energy and eat them at the appropriate time. When it comes down to it, though—when all the evidence is looked at together—the best nutrition advice on what to eat is relatively straightforward: Eat a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; choose healthy fats, like olive and canola oil and avocados; avoid fried foods and eat grilled or baked fish and lean meats (poultry, red meat, pork) and try to stay away from processed or packaged foods especially those that contain unhealthy fats, like saturated and trans fats. It seems easy, but athletes often forget to steer clear of any high-fat foods. A meal 3-4 hours before a game or practice should be rich in complex carbohydrates and a moderate amount of protein but be low in fat and excessive fiber because fat and fiber takes longer to digest, which can cause an upset stomach and slow your child down. 2. Use liquid vegetable oils whenever possible for sautéing vegetables, stir-frying fish or chicken, and as the base of salad dressings. Milk is also rich in nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. Sports drinks – Limit sports drinks like Gatorade to after games. Snacks that focus on the same carbohydrate-rich snacks mentioned above (bagels, trail mix, granola bars, fresh fruit, nutri-grain bars, energy bars or graham crackers, etc. Eat a lunch rich in carbohydrates and protein but keep the portion size low if before a game. Your best bet is to eat a pre-game snack about half an hour before you step onto the court or field to top off your energy stores, helping you power past opponents in the closing minutes. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat. Some great choices are: Greens: Greens are packed with calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamins A, C, E and K, and they help strengthen the blood and respiratory systems. Processed meats  (including bacon, sausage, hot dogs, sandwich meat, packaged ham, pepperoni, salami and virtually all red meat used in frozen prepared meals) – Numerous scientific studies have pointed to processed meats containing many chemicals additives that are known to greatly increase the risk of various cancers including colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, brain tumors, pancreatic cancer and many more. Avoid snacking too late. Instead, build a healthy plate with equal servings of protein, whole grains, and vegetables. When i was training with my club team in college I remember trying to find the balance of what I could eat without feeling like I was going to throw up by the end of practice. “Tropical fruits – mangos, papaya, pineapples, bananas – are all good at this stage because they’ve got modest amounts of fiber and don’t give as much of a sugar rush as other fruits,” says sports nutritionist Gavin Allinson. A football player doing two practices a day might need as many as 10,000 calories in one day. Choose low-fat milk, and savor full-fat cheeses in small amounts. All rights reserved. Eat a snack about an hour before the opening whistle. NYFSC Eagles, Edge, Gremio & Boca at NYC Showcase, PCA Player and Parent Session on December 15, Hard Fought, Fun Scrimmage with NYFSC Ajax, Eagles and Gremio, Scrambled eggs with some grated cheese or vegetables (or both) and a piece of whole grain toast or tortilla, Granola with low-fat yogurt or kefir with fresh fruit, Oatmeal with chopped nuts and a sliced banana with a little maple syrup, A bagel with cream cheese and lox or other smoked fish. It’s important to drink afterwards to restore fluid lost through sweat. Eat at least one good source of omega-3 fats each day. While you can’t fix yourself scrambled eggs ahead of time, you can hard-boil eggs or, at the very least, have all the ingredients organized and ready to go. … Fried and breaded foods – A leading cause of obesity in this country. The sugar-packed (carb-packed) bagel is a great presoccer meal, but if your game gets cancelled you'll have to figure out how to burn off hundreds of calories. If kids eat less than 3 hours before game or practice, serve a lighter meal or snack that includes easy-to-digest carbohydrate-containing foods, such as fruit, fruit or vegetable juice, crackers, or bread. Peanut butter … For some other smoothie ideas click here. Take out from McDonalds, Burger King and other fast food restaurants – Unless you are opting for the salads with very little salad dressing, try avoiding the food in fast food restaurants like these. Lv 4. One last piece of advice – Getting a good night’s rest (at least eight hours) is just as important as eating right. This includes breakfast on game day. from Harvard School of Public Health: Instead of fried chicken or fish, opt for grilled or non-breaded baked. 5 snacks to eat before tennis competition: Oatmeal with fruit. Here are a few other websites that can help you make more healthy decisions on what to eat:,, Late-night eating may make for a full belly in the morning. If you need to eat closer to game time, a light meal is usually tolerated one to two hours in advance. And move away from the traditional mealtime paradigm of a large portion of meat at the center of your plate. There’s a recommended period of 2 to 4 hours between small meals/snacks, which could result in around 6 meals per day. Quesadillas: Like a grilled cheese but more open to unique and hearty fillings. They should come to the table hungry (after main meals, snacking is encouraged.) These can accompany a pasta lunch before an afternoon game or an oatmeal and raisins breakfast, according to Averbuch and Clark. Mashed avocado, rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, makes a fabulous topping for sandwiches. This is good for you because Greek yogurt (try to avoid fruit flavored yogurt unless there is no sugar added) and milk provide lots of protein to repair your muscles after a strenuous workout. Soccer players should eat foods with a low to medium GI before a match. Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics) counsels both casual and competitive athletes in her practice at Healthworks, the premier fitness center in Chestnut Hill MA (617-383-6100).For fueling help, read her Sports Nutrition Guidebook and food guides for new runners, marathoners or soccer players. During the Event. Eating less, but eating in a more distributed way during the day, will help your body become stronger and also keep your metabolism high. SoccerXpert: Why should soccer players eat foods that are high in carbohydrates? 3-4 hours before a game eat a nutritionally balanced meal. If one already has a low-fat diet and lack of exercise and weight gain is not an issue, then whole milk should not be a problem if consumed in moderation. Take out, unwrap and slice into pieces. If you are going to eat processed meat, do it sparingly, read the food labels, and look for more “natural” less processed brands that are not loaded with chemical, food coloring, and other additives. The key to game-day nutrition is eating substantial yet light meals. To find local growers, farmer’s markets, and CSAs in your area, visit Local Harvest. This includes focusing on what to eat before a soccer game. Advice for Soccer Players’ Pre-Game Snack – What to Eat to Top Off: Soccer players can have a snack 1-2 hours before the event to top off your fuel stores. “Too much of the sweet stuff can lead to lethargy due to blood sugar fluctuations, so avoid sports drinks until immediately before the game, too.”. Add rotisserie chicken, pulled pork, or any mix of leftovers with your favorite veggies or even pineapple. Berries are cancer-fighting, apples provide fiber, oranges and mangos offer vitamin C, and so on. Dinner the night before The night before, serve your child a nutritious dinner. Fatty fish, walnuts, and canola oil all provide omega-3 fatty acids. If you find you’ve eaten too early and need more then you can always supplement with a light snack in the 1-2 … Games lasting 90 minutes or longer could deplete glycogen (sugar) stores, so if your morning match turns into an all-day tournament, eat plenty of smart carbs. Players on a competitive / traveling youth soccer team might need to get up at 5:00 AM or 6:00 AM to get to an 8:00 AM tournament. Protein. 14. Here are my best healthy breakfast ideas for kids of all ages to get you started. Make sure that your child is drinking water throughout the day and leading up to the game or practice. A dash of specialty oil, like extra-virgin olive oil, walnut or pistachio oil, sesame oil, or truffle oil, can make steamed vegetables come alive. Be adventurous with your greens and branch out beyond bright and dark green lettuce—kale, mustard greens, broccoli, Chinese cabbage are just a few of the options. Don't scarf a meal replacement shake 20 minutes before game time and expect peak performance. Soccer players sometimes have to train or compete early in the morning. Liquid meal replacements -- such as breakfast shakes -- also help, provided they are high in carbs and low in filling, tough-to-digest proteins and fats. Keep on hand garlic, onions, dark salad greens like spinach and romaine, carrots, and apples. Too much saturated fat in one’s diet could potentially lead to heart disease and other possible problems later on in life. Other essentials. Soccer requires speed, endurance, a consistent energy supply and focus. Now, every last aspect of a professional soccer player’s life is taken care of to give the team the best possible chance of success. They are high in trans and saturated fats, which are linked to cardiovascular disease. So think about your practice schedule and your eating for the days leading up to game day to give you an idea of what your carb intake should look like. Maybe some light pasta or salad with some bread. ), Nuts, dried fruit, energy bars, trail mix, Bagels with cream cheese or other cheese or peanut butter, Fresh or steamed vegetables (like carrots, broccoli, celery) with hummus or peanut butter dip, Plenty of fluids – 2-3 bottles of water during a game. Because unused calories eventually convert to fat, choose your meal carefully. Athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo eat a breakfast that is rich in complex carbohydrates and a moderate amount of protein such as fruit, whole-grain cereals, eggs or milk. Eat a great dinner the night before. 1. How you fuel your body before a game or practice can still have major performance benefits. Morning Competition: If you have a morning event, your dinner the night before becomes your most important meal! Whole Food Energizer – Liquid Multi Vitamin & Mineral or one heaping tablespoon of Green Vibrance powder (or a similar liquid or dried powder vitamin and mineral supplement) (or both).

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