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What to eat before soccer?

Pre-game nutrition is vital in for every athlete, no matter their age or level. However, it sometimes becomes confusing on exactly what a player should have prior to a game or practice. It’s important for young athletes to understand the importance of pregame nutrition and what to eat before a match or practice. Eating the right foods can help maximize performance and energy levels, while eating the wrong foods can lead to fatigue and poor performance. This article will discuss the best pregame nutrition for youth soccer players in Calgary, including what foods to eat, when to eat them, and how much should be consumed.

3-4 Hours Before

Most practices and games last between 60 to 90 minutes, therefore it is important for an athlete to properly fuel in order to play to their full potential. It is optimal for an athlete to have a meal high in whole-grain complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fat approximately 3-4 hours before training. Carbohydrates provide energy, proteins help build muscles and repair tissue damage, while healthy fats are essential for optimal health. Eating a balanced meal three to four hours before a game is recommended. An example of this would be 4 oz of grilled chicken, 1 cup of rice and 1 cup of vegetables. Another example could be a ham, turkey, chicken or roast beef sandwich on whole wheat bread paired with a cup of fruit. This will help ensure that they have enough energy to last them through the entire game.

1 Hour Before

It is important for athletes to try and have a snack at least 1 hour before training to top up their energy levels. Players should consume quick digesting simple carbohydrates and avoid high fat foods as these are hard to digest and can actually harm an athlete's performance. Simple carbohydrates are the easiest thing for the body to digest and convert to energy, examples of these include fruit, pretzels, white breads and crackers. Ideally an athlete may have a jam sandwich on white bread or half a cup of pretzels or a granola bar with a piece of fruit an hour before.

Water is also important!

It is also important for an athlete to be hydrating before training. Try to have a cup of water with every meal and snack to prevent cramping and ensure an athlete is fully hydrated. In addition to eating well, it is also important for youth soccer players in Calgary to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day leading up to the game. Proper nutrition and hydration are key components of successful performance on the field in any sport, especially soccer!

What is your favourite pre-game meal?

  • Sandwich and fruit

  • Rice, chicken and veggies

  • Baked potato and turkey

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