Eating right





Nutrition is key to top performance. Good habits can be divided into four areas:


Eating right

You need right kind of energy for playing soccer, and you need to limit fat – dragging extra pounds around the field is no fun.

  • Around 60-65% of your food as carbohydrates (especially whole grain breads, pasta, and cereals; rice, potatoes, corn, fruit). Whole grain is better than processed food; fruit juices should be very limited.

  • 25% fats (unsaturated is best). Getting the right fats in the right amount is hard. Tips:

    • Very limited hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage,

    • Low-fat cheese, peanut butter, and yoghurt

    • Olive, canola, safflower oil for cooking

    • Avoid high fat foods when eating out (stay out of the donut shop and limit the pizza!)

  • 15% protein. Players need about 2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight: a 100lb player would need about 3 ounces of protein daily, in meat, fish, chicken, cheese, and beans. That’s less than a quarter-pound hamburger.

  • Minerals and vitamins. Eat many different foods and this will take care of itself.

  • Smaller meals. Eat more smaller meals; have a healthy afternoon snack to help avoid junk food.

 Plan your own eating right menus. List the specific foods you like in the following groups.

Try to identify foods that meet the “eating right” list above. Let your parents know about this list so you can together plan to eat more food that are good for you and fewer foods that are not.

Click here for your personal Eating Right chart

 Pre-game food

·         Meal.  Eat a full pre-game meal based on carbohydrates, 2-4 hours before game time. The closer to game time, the smaller the meal. Good meals can include chicken, rice, potatoes, veggies and plenty to drink.

·         Fluids. Stay well hydrated, starting 2 hours before game time.


 During the game

·         No food needed if you follow pre-game instructions

·         If you need to snack, bring a cereal bar or other quickly digested carbohydrate-rich food.

·         Keep hydrated. Drink every time you have an opportunity.


After the game

Players need to replenish their energy stocks. This should be done in two phases:

·         Snack. An immediate carbohydrate snack (bananas, apple, fruit juice, energy bar)

·         Meal. A carbohydrate-rich meal within two hours of playing.


Ok, now you’re ready to play!

This section is based on Dave Chamber, Coaching, (Firefly Books, 1997) which has considerably more detailed discussions on nutrition and good information on the biological basis for these recommendations.