What to Eat Before a Soccer Game – A Comprehensive Guide

What to eat before a soccer game is a question that comes to mind in every soccer player.

players and coaching staff have become more interested in nutrition in recent years as they become more aware of its advantages.

For a better understanding of what to eat before a soccer game? We will attempt to answer all the questions related to footballers’ diet, whether it is to be taken before or during the match.

The first thing to realize is that carbs rank first among nutrients as a source of energy for football players. We should understand what they are:

What Are Carbohydrates:

The sugars, starches, and fibers contained in a wide variety of foods, including fruits (apple peels, oranges, pears), cereals, and vegetables (carrots), are referred to as carbs. These are essential for a healthy existence and belong to one of the basic food groups.

The body uses carbohydrates to produce glucose, which is then transformed into energy, which is then utilized to support bodily functions and physical activity. The muscle glycogen is included in these.

It seems that the most crucial energy source for soccer players is muscle glycogen. The relevance of carbohydrates for soccer players’ performance and how muscular glycogen stores were nearly drained during the second half of the game have been extensively studied and are now considered classics.

The game needs a significant energy expenditure, which is partly due to the long distances covered while running throughout a game. The intensity of the effort and the number of games played every season increase as the level of competition rises. Keeping a nutritious diet before, during, and after a game is crucial for this reason.

what to eat before a soccer game

Preparation in the week leading to the soccer match:

The two key goals during the week leading up to the football match are:

  • In order to compete with a maximum energy reserve, maximize the glycogen stores of carbohydrates in the muscles and liver.
  • Keep yourself hydrated (high intakes of water or fluids).

Players should also understand what kind of match they are preparing for. This will lead to easy determination of the preparations. 

It must be considered that if you don’t eat a healthy diet for a prolonged length of time. Then an optimal diet before the match won’t be beneficial enough for good performance during the match. 

Diet for the Days Before a Soccer Match:

Following are some qualities that should be present in the food that will be taken in the days leading up to the match event:

  • Maintaining your carbohydrate intake is crucial if you want to keep your glycogen levels as full as possible. (As good carb intake leads to good glycogen).
  • Aim to drink at least 1.5 litres of water every day or until your urine is as clear as possible. This means your body will get flushed of any harmful elements. 
  • Do not alter your regular routine or attempt any new foods.
  • Steer clear of spicy foods and bloating veggies like leeks, artichokes, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts because you don’t need an upset stomach, especially during the game. 
  • Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, etc.) and whole-grain or fiber-rich foods (brown rice, whole-grain bread) should be avoided.
  • Reduce consumption of fatty meals, such as sausages that have been fried or battered, sauces, or pastries.
  • To encourage healthy digestion, chew your meal thoroughly while eating.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine.
what to eat before a soccer game

What to Eat Before a Soccer Game on the Match Day?

You should start the preparations the night before the match day. Dinner should be taken at least two hours prior to sleeping. The dinner should consist of foods that are simple to digest, such as cooked pasta or rice, vegetable salad, lean fish or French omelettes, fruit or yogurt, or bread. Don’t forget to drink a lot of water – try to avoid any kind of processed drinks.

You should consider the following suggestions on the day of the match:

  • The final meal should be consumed at least three hours before the game to give the stomach time to digest and prevent tummy pain.
  • Foods high in carbs, low in protein, and high in fat should make up the menu.
  • Do not consume a lot of food.
  • Steer clear of sauces and spices.
  • Drinking a lot of liquids when eating is not advised because it makes digestion more challenging.
  • Consume food mindfully and gently.

The Meal to Be Taken in the Leading Hour:

A meal high in carbohydrates that is consumed in the hours before the competition can finish off in the body’s glycogen stores.

What Should the Pre-game Food Consist of?

  • Simple carbohydrates, which are prevalent in foods like white bread, cereal, fruit, etc. (Don’t overeat) 
  • Food that is a little bit high in protein, easily absorbed, and low in fat, like turkey, fresh cheese, skim yogurt, etc.
  • Eat less fat because it slows digestion.
  • Keep hot, fiber-rich foods to a minimum.
  • Drink two to three glasses of water or an isotonic beverage before the match to stay hydrated as you sweat a lot).

Depending on the timing of the match (morning or afternoon), we must take the following into account:

Morning:

  • Dinner will take precedence. It will contribute more carbs (pasta, rice, bread).
  • Breakfast is very important for the whole day. It should be lean, fat-free, and carb-based.

Afternoon:

  • The main meal should be consumed two to four hours before the commencement of a football game.To avoid gastrointestinal discomfort, it should be carb-based, and foods low in fiber and fat are ideal.
  • A sandwich with a light stuffing, such turkey or a rice dish could be served as the main course.
  • Fruit, yogurt, a cereal bowl, and toasted bread with jam are all healthy options if you want to consume a snack up to an hour before the game. These foods are high in carbohydrates and will help refuel your body.

Diet During the Match:

The consumption of food and fluids during a game has been one of the topics in football that has received the most research.

Muscular glycogen levels fall as the game’s minutes pass, which leads to weariness and a reduction in the efficacy of technical and tactical maneuvers. Throughout the rest of the game, drinking carbohydrate-containing beverages keeps the body hydrated and the blood’s glucose levels stable.

Taking about 40g of carbohydrates when at rest is another helpful strategy to lessen fatigue in the second half. But where can we find them?

For Athletes, 

  • carb based drinks
  • one ripe banana
  • 3 to 4 dates
  • 1 toast
  • 500ml of isotonic quince jelly

Football players might lose between 1 and 4 liters of fluid every game due to sweating, depending on the environment and the intensity of the game. Therefore, maintaining the player’s hydration will be the primary nutritional goal.

Athletes who weigh 70 kg or less may lose as little as 2% of their starting body weight (1.4 kg), which can make it difficult for them to run continuously or intermittently and lessen their ability to perform skills associated with football.

Controlling urine color—the darker the color, the more dehydrated you are—is a quick and easy technique to determine your state of hydration.

The question of whether to utilize sports drinks or water emerges. Water can be sufficient for training and competition in cold locations or when the intensity of the match is low or moderate if we are on a tight budget. Sports drinks, however, are preferable to water as a rehydration drink during exercise for a number of reasons.

These beverages contain sucrose and glucose as well as sodium chloride, or table salt. Compared to ingesting merely water, the transfer of the water from the colon to the blood is improved when salts and carbohydrates are added to the water.

Of course, carbohydrates provide you more energy, especially in the last seconds of the game.

Additionally, some athletes lose a lot of salt through sweat, and if you want to keep hydrated, you need to replenish this salt.

When we discuss sports drinks, we do not mean the so-called “isotonic” beverages, which have an excessive amount of sugar and too little sodium.

Some of Our Suggestions Are On What to Eat Before a Soccer Game?

  • Make sure you’re properly hydrated by sipping on 400–500ml of water or a sports drink over time.
  • If you haven’t tried them before the competition, avoid experimenting with new foods or supplements. Find out about the refreshments that will be provided before the race to see if they are the same ones you often consume.

After the Training or the Match:

In order to generate enough energy to complete the exercise, our body sweats and burns fat and carbohydrates during the game. We lose too many nutrients, which throws our body’s levels out of balance. If the game was vigorous, you probably lost weight because you lost fluid, which you refill when you eat and drink. 

In the two hours following exercise, eating foods high in carbohydrates and proteins with little to no fat is important. The body is more responsive and will assimilate nutrients better during this time. A muscle repair that lasts up to 48 hours will result from this.

Eating foods high in potassium like bananas, dried fruit, or vegetables is crucial to assist our muscles in relaxing and recovering as quickly as possible. You can also turn to the help of multivitamin complexes, which will help us quite a bit when it comes to recovering.

Conclusion: What to Eat Before a Soccer Game?

So, it’s a wrap to this specially designed article for the people having queries about footballers’ food and diet intake. We have tried to cover everything from food intake during the week before the soccer match till during the soccer match and even after it. 

All your questions have been answered? Hopefully, you now know what to eat before a soccer game.

FAQs What to Eat Before a Soccer Game?

What should I eat the week before the match?       

Before a match, the majority of athletes try to eat a diet high in complex carbs. They consume pasta, rice, whole-wheat cookies, potatoes, energy drinks, etc. However, avoid going too far in either direction; a balanced diet also calls for the consumption of lipids or fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients.

What meal should you have the night before the soccer game?

The preferred method to eat pasta is with vegetables, bolognese sauce with tomato and minced meat, or with cockles, clams, and minced garlic. Pasta is the customary dish for a runner’s meal, which is always served with extremely light sauces (forget the cream and bacon). Continue to follow the principle of balance by only eating what you need to feel satisfied and not stuffed.

Does drinking coffee help you function better in a soccer match?

The double-edged sword that is caffeine. On the one hand, it is a stimulant that, when used in moderation, helps the body produce more energy for movement, though it is unclear if it only affects the neurological system or if it also affects how the body uses its energy.

On the other side, it is a diuretic, which can hasten the process of becoming dehydrated and impair athletic performance. The greatest advice is to avoid abusing caffeine. If you normally have coffee for breakfast, you can still drink it as long as you have time to use the restroom before the match.

Do I need to eat just before the start of a soccer match?

Not only should you avoid running on an empty stomach, but also avoid running on a full stomach. Although some football players have developed good habits of eating an energy bar, raisins, or a banana just before practice, it’s actually not necessary if your diet in the days leading up to the event has been healthy.

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  • Jack Wilson

    My name is Jack Wilson, and I'm a professional soccer trainer. My goal is to provide you with helpful soccer tactics and information on this website. We are accepting guest post and niche edits on socceriate.com contact me on [email protected] I will keep sharing best tactics, soccer information and soccer tips.

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