Your choices in nutrition could be the difference between burning out midway through the game and scoring the winning goal in overtime.
What you eat prior to a soccer game can heavily determine your performance. It is vital to fuel your body with healthy food starting the night before the soccer game. Check out our tips on what and when to eat before a soccer game.
Night Before the Game
The night before a soccer game is your opportunity to take advantage of eating a large meal. This meal should be balanced with carbohydrates and protein. You will want to eat complex carbohydrates like breads, grains, and pastas. These foods are broken down slowly and provide energy over a long period of time. A lean protein like turkey or chicken will also aid your muscles. Muscles break down with exercise and require protein to repair themselves. Having a store of protein in your body prior to your game will make sure your muscles don’t become fatigued. Also, remember to hydrate adequately the night before. If you wake up already hydrated, it will be easier to remain that way throughout the day.
The key to game-day nutrition is eating substantial yet light meals. You will want to eat a similar but smaller meal than the previous night, consisting of complex carbohydrates and protein, no sooner than four hours before your game. Make sure to avoid foods high in fat like burgers and chips as well as dairy products. These foods take a long time to digest and may cause stomach discomfort and cramping during a game. Carrying a water bottle throughout the day is an easy way to make sure you remain hydrated.
Having a small snack two hours before your soccer game is also helpful. Bananas are a great option for a pre-game snack due to their high Potassium level. Potassium helps prevent cramping in athletes.
Drinking a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade is also a good idea at this stage. These drinks contain electrolytes, which need to be replenished as the body sweats. Sports drinks also contain a large amount of sugar, so it is a good idea to dilute the drink with water. Try drinking a combination of half-water and half sports drink.
Successful soccer players will keep a strict diet throughout their season, not just in the days leading up to a game. Think of your body like it's a machine and give it the proper fuel to run efficiently. Implementing these tips in your diet will help you perform to your potential while keeping you healthy.