Good nutrition means positive results, and a solid soccer diet will be necessary to achieve a player’s goals without running out of energy. With the amount of exercise and non-stop motion put into each game, a well-planned and balanced diet needs to be one of the main focuses of an athlete's training. Without a proper nutrition, players can run out energy, feel dizzy, and experience headaches and visibility problems that, combined with the hot Florida temperatures, can lead to unpleasant and unnecessary emergency situations. A proper combination of carbs, proteins, fats, and vitamins will be key for a successful performance. So, what’s the ideal daily diet for a soccer player?
- Carbohydrates: The secret is complex carbs because they provide 40-50% of the body’s energy requirements. On average, players should eat about four grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight per day. Complex carbs, like fruits, take longer to digest and contain other important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber that regular carbs, like cookies, don’t provide.
- Proteins: Lean meats, vegetables, fish, eggs, peanuts, and low-fat milk will be enough to nurture the body with the required nutrients. Women athletes, on the other hand, such as the ones on our much beloved Orlando Pride team, will need extra iron and calcium that can be found in leafy veggies, red meat, and dairy products.
- Fats: While we tend to associate fats with something negative, picking the right kind of healthy fats can be essential for physical and emotional health. While french fries, and pretty much anything fried, is something you need to avoid at any cost, whether you are an athlete or not, unsaturated fats found in avocados, nuts, and olives will provide fuel for your body, contributing as much as 75 percent energy.
Oh, and don’t forget to drink a lot of water! Staying hydrated before, during, and after a game is essential to avoid dehydration! During a game, players can lose up to three quarts of fluid, especially in hot climates; this is something our Orlando Pride players know for sure. Remember: eat right to play right; taking care of your body will pay off in the field, so #LetsScore!