Eating right on game day can make a difference between a poor performance and tapping into your full potential. Considering that a professional soccer player burns 1,600 calories on average during a 90-minute game, players normally need to eat between 3,000 to 4,000 calories per day to provide their body with the necessary energy. However, while proper eating before the game is important, what you eat during and after the game will determine your performance and recovery. Today, the Queenscast team show you some pregame, during game, and postgame meals to keep in mind for your next game.
The key to an appropriate pregame food is a low Glycemic Index (GI). The Glycemic index is a value assigned to food based on how quickly or slowly food can increase the glucose level in blood. Rye bread, pasta, sweet potato, lentils, oatmeal, or most fruits (except bananas) are some foods with a low GI that will help to release energy slowly and for a longer period. In order to avoid indigestion, ideally, soccer athletes should eat three hours before kick off.
*Meal Sample: Rye bread with scrambled eggs, a palm’s worth of chicken, and a pear.
During Game Meals
During a game, taking an energy break will be key to keeping up your performance at your full potential the rest of the training or match. For intense workouts longer than 60 minutes, your body needs foods easily and quickly absorbed and digested, like fruit. Stay away from fiber or granola bars during the game; these take more work for your body to digest.
*Meal Sample: Apple juice with cheese and crackers.
Once the game is over, it’s important to replenish your carbohydrates within the next two hours. In this case, your meal should consist of food with high GI. Bananas, dried fruit, potatoes, white bread, or any white flour product would be perfect for your after-game recovery meal.
*Meal Sample: Veggie pizza slice, grains and a banana.
Since restoring carbohydrates can take up to 20 hours, for those who are competing four or five times a week, like our Orlando Pride girls, replenishing your carbohydrate stores frequently with carbohydrate drinks like a Gatorade is crucial. Besides game days, if you want to know what a daily balanced diet should look like for any athlete, don’t forget to check out this blog. For more information about the latest and greatest of our Orlando Pride team, stay tuned to our weekly Queenscast podcasts.