Nutrition for Soccer - Maximize Your Training
Soccer is an intense sport!
In order to keep your body strong and healthy throughout an entire practice, match, or tournament, you must eat the right types of food.
You spend hours teaching your body the skills it needs to be a good soccer player, such as passing, heading, dribbling, shooting, running, but without the correct nourishment, your body won’t be able to perform any of these skills.
Part of being an athlete means learning about:
- How to eat
- When to eat
- What to eat
Here are some tips about using food to maximize your soccer performance:
Understanding the Basics of Sport Nutrition
Both whole foods and sport nutrition products play a role in an athlete’s diet. Plan your meals and snacks based on time and convenience to determine what choices work best for you.
Keep in mind that your body needs a variety of foods to ensure an adequate intake of all essential vitamins and minerals.
For every meal think about eating:
- Mostly carbohydrates
- Some protein
- Healthy fat for flavor
- LOTS of COLOR!
What Should Athletes Eat & Why?
Grains (bread, cereal, pasta, rice) Fruit, Dairy, Veggies (potatoes, corn, squash) Sport Foods
- Carbs fuel the muscles during exercise and allow you to train at high intensity.
- Carbs are the only fuel source for brain concentration, mental acuity.
- Carbs should make up a large part of your daily diet
- Choose whole grains, fruits, and veggies
- Be sure to have a carb-rich meal/snack 1-4 hours before & after training
Meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs, Dairy, Nuts & Seeds, Beans, Soy
- Protein helps to build & repair muscle tissue.
- Protein makes enzymes and antibodies.
- Proteins help transport nutrients and maintain hydration.
- Proteins protect your immunity.
- Include a small amount of protein with every meal and snack
- Incorporate both vegetable and animal sources of protein
- Aim for ~10g of protein after training
Animal Products, Nuts, Seeds, Avocado, Oils, Some packaged foods
- Fat serves as an energy source during low intensity exercise.
- Fat helps send messages within the body.
- Fats help with vitamin and mineral absorption.
- Fats can reduce inflammation.
- Choose lean meats and low-fat dairy products
- Choose “healthy fats,” such as olive & canola oils, fish, avocado, nuts & nut butters
- Limit fatty meat & fried foods
Snacks, Drinks & Recovery
The body doesn’t like being deprived of food for long periods of time. If you eat every 3-4 hours your body will run more efficiently. Bring snacks to keep in your gym bag and locker.
Some good snacks are:
- Granola bars
- Trail mix
- Drink mixes
- Fruit leather
These same snacks can help your body recover after a hard training session.
Fluid is just as important as snacks because it transports nutrients throughout the body, assists with recovery and cools the body.
- Have a snack between breakfast and lunch.
- If lunch is > 3 hours before practice/training, have a snack 1 hour before practice.
- Eat after training! The body is primed and ready to recover immediately after a hard workout.
- Bring a sport drink, sport bar, crackers, cheese, yogurt, or fruit to snack on after practice or training.
- Bring a water bottle or sport drink to every training session.
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