Eating plan for soccer

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By: Amanda Carlson

Eating the right food every day, as well as before, during and after training sessions and games has a major impact on your performance.

Research has shown that soccer players can deplete 90% of their muscle glycogen during a game, which increases fatigue and significantly reduces running speed. Without enough fuel, soccer players run up to 50 percent slower during the second half, cover less ground and spend more time walking compared to players with more fuel stores. Think about how many games are won in the second half or, even more importantly, in the last few minutes. Now, do you want to have low fuel stores?

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Maintain a full tank during a weekend of soccer with this nutritional game plan.

By: Amanda Carlson

Eating the right food every day, as well as before, during and after training sessions and games has a major impact on your performance.

Research has shown that soccer players can deplete 90% of their muscle glycogen during a game, which increases fatigue and significantly reduces running speed. Without enough fuel, soccer players run up to 50 percent slower during the second half, cover less ground and spend more time walking compared to players with more fuel stores. Think about how many games are won in the second half or, even more importantly, in the last few minutes. Now, do you want to have low fuel stores?

Taking in 30-60g of carbohydrates an hour, especially before a game and at halftime, can prevent you from running on fumes during those last critical moments against your rivals.

Follow this simple strategy:

(1) Pre-event: About 15-20 minutes before your game, drink 12-16 oz. of a sports drink.

(2) During the event: Take in a combination of a sports drink and water any time you come out of the game.

(3) Half-time: At half-time, consume another 12-16 oz. of a sports drink or another 30g of a carbohydrate. Do what feels best for you. If you prefer liquid, go with the sports drink; if you prefer a bar, eat one with at least 30g of carbs; if you want something in between, choose Goo; if you prefer solid food, eat something moderate or high on the glycemic index, such as:

  • 1/2 or whole bagel

  • 1 or 2 handfuls of pretzels

  • 1/4 cup raisins

  • 1 to 2 handfuls of cereal with raisins

  • 1 banana

DOUBLEHEADERS
To ensure great performance for a doubleheader or a game the next day, take in a combination of protein and carbohydrates immediately after the first game.

(4) Post-game: A liquid form of protein and carbs is recommended, but a small meal will work as well. To know how much protein and carbs are perfect for your body, use the following formulas:

Carbohydrate need =

(_______(your weight) / 2.2) = ______ x 0.8 = ______g

Protein need =

(_______(your weight) / 2.2) = ______ x 0.4 = ______g

RECOVERY
Post-game nutrition is a critical element of recovery. Consuming the above recommendation of protein and carbohydrates immediately after a game speeds recovery and helps your body prepare for the next workout or game. Again, a liquid form is recommended, but a small meal works.

CARB/PROTEIN EXAMPLES:

Typical Item/Portion

Carbs

Protein

Starches - 1 slice bread

15 grams

3 grams

Fruits - 1 small apple

15 grams

-

Nonfat dairy items - 1 cup

12 grams

8 grams

Vegetable - 1/2 cup

5 grams

2 grams

Lean meat - 1 ounce

-

7 grams


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock