Soccer Snacks

Want to play better soccer? Nutrition matters!

Contributed by Arden Paglia

How you perform in your practices and games isn't just dependent on skill, talent, and hard work. What you eat before and after soccer events can improve your performance and reduce your risk of injury. What you put into your body affects how you perform on the field. Too much junk food can leave you sluggish, and too much sugar can give you an initial boost of energy leading to increased fatigue. Tired, unhealthy bodies are more susceptible to injury. Want to give yourself and your team an extra boost on the field? It is simple! Knowing what foods are good to eat before and after practices, before and after games, and on tournament weekends can allow you to become a healthier, better player. Here are some suggestions:

What you need

Examples

Before practices

If you need to grab a quick and easy snack, look for foods rich in carbohydrates.

· Fresh f ruit

· Graham crackers

· Bagels with cream cheese or peanut butter

· Fresh vegetables

· Energy bars

· Nut butter and honey on whole grain bread

· Turkey jerky

· Coconut water

· Hummus and peppers

After practices

Eat carbohydrates. Focus on eating your snack within 30 minutes.

If you are having dinner, have a balanced meal with protein, carbs, and plenty of water.

· Milk

· Chocolate Milk

· Fruit

· Pretzels

· Protein/recovery bars

Game Day

Morning

Complex carbohydrates (whole grains), a moderate amount of lean protein, and HYDRATE!

· Scrambled eggs with vegetables in a tortilla

· Granola and yogurt with fruit

· Oatmeal with a sliced banana

· Hard-boiled egg

· A glass of milk

· A smoothie with almond butter

· 2-3 cups of water

Game Day

Afternoon

A lunch rich in carbohydrates and protein. And HYDRATE!

· Pasta with red sauce

· Turkey sandwich and fruit

· Meat and bean burrito

· Vegetable and meat wraps

· Toast with avocado

· 2-3 cups of water

After games

Post-game meals should contain a balance of lean protein, carbs, and fat.

· Grilled or baked fish and rice

· Grilled chicken with pasta

· Dairy products

· Greek yogurt smoothie with berries

· Whole grain (not sugary) cereal and milk

Tournaments
Before and after

Follow the game suggestions for a larger meal, or for a snack follow the practice ideas.

· See above.

Tournaments
Between games

Replenish your energy, sodium, and fluids with a meal that has lean protein and carbohydrates.

· A sandwich (turkey and cheese on whole grain and a bag of potato chips)

· Plenty of fluids including electrolytes with minimal sugar

· Trail mix

· Granola bars

· Fruit

· Avoid caffeine

AVOID

Fatty foods, foods high in sugar, and caffeinated drinks.

· Donuts

· Cookies

· Chips

· Candy

· Fried foods

· Soda and sugary beverages

· High sodium foods

Fruits, veggies and lean protein are part of a balanced diet you should always follow. Want to improve your diet? Try to add a variety of colorful fruits and veggies. Did you know berries contain anti-inflammatory properties that can actually help your body recover from injury?

SOURCES:

https://www.newyorkfsc.org/nutrition-for-soccer-players/

http://www.wcusc.org/docs/Travel/91G2/eating.htm

https://blog.teamsnap.com/sports-parents-2/healthy-fuel-for-youth-soccer-games-and-practices

https://www.livestrong.com/article/381038-what-to-eat-for-breakfast-before-a-soccer-game

http://www.stack.com/a/pre-game-snacks-for-athletes