Healthy foods play a crucial role in your soccer performance, and perfecting it is just one piece of the puzzle.
Training or hitting the gym is important, but it pales in comparison to the amount of time you spend recovering and adapting.
As a player, your body is pushed to its limits, and how you fuel it can make or break you.
If you’re serious about improving your game, then it’s time to start paying attention to your nutrition. Consuming junk and other unhealthy foods will only slow you down and hinder your progress.
Instead, focus on adding nutrient-rich and healthy foods to your diet to boost your energy levels and help you perform at your best on the field.
To facilitate your journey toward a healthier diet, I have compiled a comprehensive nutrition guide featuring a variety of healthy foods
In it, you’ll discover why proper nutrition is important to achieving peak performance and how you can become a fit soccer player.
- What Is A Healthy Diet for Soccer Players?
- 10 Healthy Foods For Soccer Players
- What Kind Of Food Do Soccer Players Eat?
- What Should A Soccer Player Eat Before A Match?
What Is A Healthy Diet for Soccer Players?
Soccer players’ healthy diets should consist of a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fats, with carbohydrates making up the bulk of their energy intake.
|Primary fuel source for working muscles
|Grains, fruits, vegetables
|60-70% of energy intake
|Growth and repair of tissues, framework of the body
|Meat, poultry, game, fish, eggs
|1.3-1.8 grams per kg of body weight, 12-15% of energy intake
|Concentrated source of energy, fat-soluble vitamins
|Olive and rapeseed oils, vegetable oils,
10 Healthy Foods For Soccer Players
Soccer is a dynamic sport that requires a combination of aerobic and anaerobic activity.
Whether you’re practicing on the field or competing in a match, your body is constantly being put to the test.
To perform at your best, it’s important to tailor your nutrition to meet your specific needs.
Your individual requirements will be influenced by a variety of factors, including your training load, training goals, body composition goals, and overall health.
This is especially important for younger players who are still growing and developing.
By giving your body the right nutrients, you can improve your performance on the field.
Not only do these scrumptious fruit taste like heaven, but they also come with a bonus of nutrients that can help transform your body.
In fact, a study analyzed data from over 17,000 people in the US and found that those who regularly ate avocados tended to be much healthier than those who didn’t.
Avocado consumers were shown to weigh less, have a lower BMI, and carry less belly fat. And, they tended to have higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
So what makes avocados so healthy?
They’re a great source of plant fiber, which can help promote healthy digestion, boost your metabolism, and even lower your cholesterol levels. They contain natural folic acid, which is important for maintaining health.
Avocados are also rich in lecithin, a key component of many of your body’s most important systems, including the nervous system, circulatory system, and immune system.
If you’re looking to level up your performance and maintain good health, adding oily fish like salmon to your diet could be a smart move.
One of the biggest advantages of omega-3s is their ability to fight inflammation, which can help speed up your recovery time after tough workouts.
Omega-3s have also been linked to lower levels of anxiety and stress, better heart health, a stronger immune system, and even improved joint and bone health.
With plenty of protein to help repair and build muscle, it’s no surprise oily fish are a popular choice among athletes.
Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to just salmon – the world is your oyster (or, you know, your fish market) when it comes to omega-3s. Mackerel, sardines, trout, tuna – all of these fish can give you that much-needed boost of fatty acids.
Don’t let your dislike of fish cramp your diet – there are still plenty of ways to get your omega-3 fix.
Flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are all also good sources that won’t leave you with fishy breath.
Milk is a nutrient-rich drink that contains protein, carbohydrates, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin B12.
These nutrients are important for maintaining strong bones, recovering from exercise, and performing essential body functions.
Leucine, an amino acid found in milk, promotes muscle growth and repair after exercise. This can lead to improved muscle strength and faster recovery times.
Milk also provides carbohydrates that are quickly absorbed by the body. These carbohydrates can help replenish the energy stored in muscles that are depleted during exercise.
Let me spill the beans here: beans aren’t just for soccer players, they’re basically a culinary all-star, fit for everyone.
Not only are they a great source of fiber and protein, which are crucial for good health, but they’re also packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
Research has shown that consuming beans regularly can contribute to lower body weight and reduced risk of obesity.
Moreover, beans are one of the best healthy foods for controlling blood sugar levels compared to other dietary sources of carbohydrates.
Just a single serving of beans can provide 20% of the daily recommended fiber intake, which is really good for maintaining digestive health.
For athletes and soccer players, carbs are vital for fueling the muscles, while protein helps to repair and build muscle tissue.
Beans can provide both of these essential nutrients, making them an excellent healthy food choice.
Eggs are an excellent source of complete protein as they contain all the essential amino acids necessary for the body.
They are also packed with several nutrients, including B vitamins, choline, magnesium, and zinc.
Organic egg yolks are also high in omega-3 fats, which are important for good heart health.
The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) found in eggs are vital for building muscles and promoting muscular growth.
Eggs are also rich in vitamin A, especially leucine, which stimulates muscle growth and helps in muscle recovery. This means that consuming eggs can help muscles recover faster and more efficiently.
Eggs are a nutritious food choice for soccer players as they contain high-quality proteins with favorable fatty acids that support cardiovascular health.
They also contain essential vitamins and minerals that help with energy and protein metabolism, defense against oxidative stress and inflammation, cell growth, and tissue repair.
Broccoli may not be everyone’s favorite vegetable, but it’s definitely one to go for when it comes to nutrition.
Packed with various bioactive compounds, it’s a great source of vitamin C and dietary fiber, as well as glucoraphanin, selenium, and isothiocyanate, which contains the popular Indole-3-carbinol.
These compounds have been shown to have potent anti-cancer properties.
It contains the antioxidants Lutein and zeaxanthin that help protect against oxidative stress, while the bioactive compound Kaempferol helps reduce inflammation in the body.
Its fiber content supports healthy digestion and bowel function, while studies have shown that sulforaphane, another bioactive compound in broccoli, can help improve brain function.
With vitamin C supporting a healthy immune system, and vitamin K and calcium helping maintain strong and healthy bones, there’s no denying that broccoli is a veggie that’s worth adding to your plate.
Spinach is a nutritional healthy food that’s worthy of its status.
This green vegetable is low in calories but high in nutrients, making it a great choice for anyone looking to improve their health.
One of the many benefits of spinach is its ability to support healthy skin, hair, and bones. It’s also packed with protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals, which are essential for maintaining a healthy body.
As a soccer player, adding spinach to your diet can help keep your body in top shape.
It’s been shown to benefit eye health, improve blood glucose control in people with diabetes, reduce oxidative stress, and even help prevent cancer.
Blueberries are a highly nutritious fruit recommended by the World Food and Agriculture Organization.
Packed with essential nutrients, they are particularly high in anthocyanins, which are responsible for their distinctive color and many health benefits.
Compared to other fruits, blueberries have the highest anthocyanin content, making them a potent natural anti-aging supplement.
In fact, by effectively scavenging harmful free radicals, blueberry anthocyanins can slow down the aging process and promote longevity.
The antioxidant activity of blueberry anthocyanins is remarkable, surpassing vitamin E by 55 times and vitamin C by 25 times.
Beetroot is not just another vegetable in your kitchen, but it also comes with lots of health benefits that your body can’t afford to miss out on.
This root veggie is packed with lots of nutrients such as fiber, folate, and vitamin C which are crucial for your well-being.
These nutrients help your body maintain healthy blood pressure levels, support your immune system, and promote healthy digestion.
Beetroot also contains nitrates and pigments that have been known to lower blood pressure and enhance athletic performance.
Almonds are a well-rounded source of fatty acids, antioxidants, and micronutrients, providing a myriad of health benefits.
For soccer players, including almonds in your diet can improve your performance both on and off the field, by boosting energy and strengthening antioxidant defenses.
Protein is an essential element for athletes, and almonds offer a powerful punch of 6 grams of protein.
Also, almonds contain healthy fats, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E, making them a nutrient-dense food.
The health benefits of almonds are numerous, including regulating blood sugar, reducing blood pressure, and lowering cholesterol levels.
Almonds also curb hunger and can promote weight loss. These nuts are a near-perfect food that can be easily included in any diet.
What Kind Of Food Do Soccer Players Eat?
While there is no single answer as to what foods a player should eat, some recommended options include lean meats like chicken or turkey, whole grains such as quinoa or brown rice, fruits, and vegetables like berries and spinach.
Soccer players burn up to 2000 calories in a 90-minute game – more than the average person in a whole day. To perform at their best, soccer players must prioritize nutrition.
But each player is unique, with varying nutritional needs and goals. Nonetheless, a balanced diet is important for all players.
A soccer player’s diet should include lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and ample fruits and vegetables.
Some players eat 5-6 meals per day, evenly spaced throughout the day.
Hydration is also key, so players should drink plenty of water before, during, and after games and practices.
Eating a meal or snack that is high in carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes after a game or practice can help with recovery and muscle repair.
What Should A Soccer Player Eat Before A Match?
When it comes to game day, your pre-game meal is really important to your performance on the field.
Experts recommend that you finish your last meal at least two hours before the game starts. This gives your body time to digest the food and ensures that you’re not feeling bloated or uncomfortable while playing.
What should you be eating?
The answer is simple: carbohydrates. Carbs are the fuel that your body uses for energy, and they’re so vital for endurance and stamina during a game.
However, not all carbs are created equal. You’d want to focus on low and medium Glycemic Index (GI) foods, which release energy slowly and steadily over time.
While carbs are important, you’ll want to avoid foods that are too high in fat and fiber, as these can slow down digestion and lead to discomfort on the field.
Suitable pre-game meal ideas can include:
- Wrap or sandwich with chicken and salad
- Bowl of muesli with yogurt and berries
- Pasta with beef mince in a tomato-based sauce
- Pumpkin soup served with bread rolls
- Chicken stir-fry with rice or quinoa
Many players will also have an extra small snack 1-2 hours prior to the game. This is often something light that is rich in carbohydrates but relatively low in fat and fiber so it is easy to digest.
Suitable pre-game snack ideas include:
- Yogurt with fruit salad
- Banana and a handful of almonds
- Peanut butter on rice cakes
- Toast with vegemite and cheese
What Foods Should Soccer Players Avoid?
Soccer players should avoid foods that are high in sugar, saturated fats, and processed ingredients.
Unhealthy foods such as sugary drinks, fast food, fried food, processed snacks, and desserts should be avoided at all costs.
These types of foods can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and decreased performance in the field
Are Bananas Good for Soccer Players?
Bananas provide a lot of benefits for soccer players due to their rich nutrient content. Packed with vitamin C, bananas can bolster the immune system, protecting players from getting sidelined by injuries.
How Much Protein Should Soccer Players Eat?
The amount of protein a soccer player should eat depends on their weight and level of activity.
However, a healthy guideline is to consume 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. For instance, a 70 kg soccer player would need 84 to 119 grams of protein per day.
Are Eggs Good for Soccer Players?
Yes, eggs are good for soccer players.
They are a good source of protein, which is important for muscle repair and recovery after a game.
What is the Best Drink for Soccer Players?
Staying hydrated is really important not just for soccer players but for everyone, and water is the best way to replenish fluids lost through sweat.
Sports drinks too can also be taken for replenishing electrolytes during intense or prolonged exercise, but water remains the best.
Final Whistle – Healthy Foods For Soccer Players
If you’re unsure about which healthy foods are best for soccer players to eat, this article provides a helpful guide to point you in the right direction.
It’s important to nourish every cell of your body since they all play a vital role in helping you perform at your best. This means consuming a balanced diet that provides the necessary nutrients for your body.