MTSC Player Nutrition

 

What would happen if you tried to run a car with no gas, water and oil? 

Imagine filling the gas tank with orange juice or soda, What would happen? 

You may think these strange questions but your body is also a machine that will break down or run poorly without the right fuel! 

What is the right fuel?  A balanced and healthy diet.

A balanced and healthy diet = High energy to play soccer and better health in general.

Junk food diet = Low energy for playing soccer and poorer health in general.

To play this game well you need a high level of energy!

It is important that your diet is balanced each day and that means eating the right combination of foods:

The diagram  (The Food Guide Pyramid) shows typically how many servings of each type of food we should be eating each day to achieve a balanced diet.  For example we should be eating between 2 and 4 servings of fruit a day and 3-5 servings of vegetables.

 

 

Guess which foods most youth players eat too much of? 

Guess which foods youth players eat too little of?

Not surprisingly children tend to eat too much of the fats and sweets (don’t you love cookies, candy and chips?) and not enough of the fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods (whole grain bread, pasta and cereal). 

What effect do you think this has on your ability to exercise and play soccer?

It is important to ‘listen to your body’,see how you feel,  If you are feeling tired, lazy and lacking in energy then it may be that you need to look at the balance and content of your diet.

It is also important to remember that as an athlete who is working hard you will need to eat a sufficient amount of food.  For example, carbohydrates, provide us with a good deal of our energy when we are active and playing. 

Be careful not to pay too much attention to the fad diets that you see advertised all over the book shops, these are not for athletes.

Game Day Nutrition

For soccer players it is also important to consider what to eat and when to eat on game day so that you can perform at your very best. This requires forethought and organization.

It is also important to hydrate. Many players forget to drink sufficient amounts of water before the game, during the game and after the game. This can have an affect on your performance, especially if you become dehydrated. This can cause you to have headaches, dizzy spells and aching limbs.

Here are a few ideas about what you might eat on game day. You have plenty of other options as well. See how you feel during the game and then change for next time if you feel the need.

3 hours before the game

Eat a large meal which is low in fat, moderate in protein and high in carbohydrate

For example: 

  • Breakfast: Glass of orange juice, whole meal cereal with skimmed or low fat milk, honey on toast, tea with low fat milk
  • Or Lunch:  Whole grain pasta with chicken and broccoli

Drink water continuously throughout the build up to the game

30 minutes pre-game

Eat a snack high in carbohydrates

For example:

  • Fig newtons, cereal bar, piece of fruit, vegetable sticks
Half-Time
  • Water or a sports drink
  • Piece of fruit
  • Half a cereal bar
Immediately Post Game
  • Water or a sports drink
  • Piece of fruit
  • Half a cereal bar

Within Two Hours Post Game

  • Fairly large meal, high in carbohydrate but also containing a good level of protein.  For example, baked potato, turkey breast and a serving of fresh mixed vegetables.
  • Two large glasses of water.

Sometimes you may have to play in an early morning game e.g. in a tournament.  With this in mind it is firstly important to eat correctly during the week.  Again, it is important to eat plenty of carbohydrates as these are your main energy source.

It is also important to consider at what time you will get up for the tournament game.  If you have a 8.30am game then you will need to get up sufficiently early to eat something, however, it will be important not to eat too much.

 

The key is to listen to your body!!