Soccer players need proper nutrition to keep up the pace and perform effectively on the field. A player who eats a balanced diet will gain more strength, power and endurance when training, and will feel more energetic during competition.

The average distance covered in a soccer match is 5.6 miles, so it is critical to fuel up prior to competition. Pre-game meals and snacks will help prevent hunger and fatigue and are necessary for peak performance.

Two to three hours before the game:

Players should consume foods high in carbohydrates with a small amount of lean meat or dairy. High fat foods should be avoided.

Good sources of carbohydrates include:

    • whole grain breads and cereals
    • fruits
    • vegetables

    Lean proteins include:

      • chicken
      • turkey
      • low-fat milk
      • yogurt
      • eggs

      One hour before the game:

      Choose foods that are low in fat and easily digested. Foods high in carbohydrates are ideal. Good examples include:

      • yogurt
      • crackers
      • fruit or fruit bars
      • sports beverages

      Meats and other protein-rich foods should be avoided.

      Post-game meals:

      It is important to replenish what the body lost during competition.Eating for recovery helps you stay energized and refuels muscles.

      • A post-game meal should be consumed 30 minutes to two hours after competition and should be high in carbohydrates.
      • Sports drinks and most energy bars and gels are quick and easy choices.