We all know that football is a sport that requires heaps of energy and stamina. So it makes sense that you want to know what to eat before a football match so you can fuel your body with the right foods.
Eating the right pre-game snacks and meals can give you a competitive edge on the field by providing sustained energy, mental clarity, and physical endurance.
Here are a few suggestions, tips and advice on what you should eat before your next football match to get the best out of your performance.
Table of Contents
- 1 What to eat before a football game: The principles of nutrition
- 2 Carbohydrates for endurance
- 3 Protein for muscle repair and clarity
- 4 Fat for Energy Storage
- 5 Stay Hydrated
- 6 Watch and learn: What to eat before a football match.
- 7 TOP TIPS
- 8 What to eat the night before your match?
- 9 What to eat for breakfast on the morning of your match?
- 10 What should you eat at half time?
- 11 What to eat after your match?
- 12 What happens if I don’t eat the right food before a match?
- 13 The final score
- 14 This article was written & reviewed by
What to eat before a football game: The principles of nutrition
The most important thing we want to say is that everyone is different.
We all have different styles and ways of playing and that goes for our pre and post-match eating habits too!
Some of us here at Kit Queen swear by scrambled eggs on toast, some of us head straight to McDonald’s after a match!
The point is to find what makes you feel confident and happy. The following is a guide on what to eat before a football match to get the best out of your performance. But of course, you can tailor it to suit you!
The basic principle of nutrition is to make sure you’re getting a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. Here’s why and what they do:
Carbohydrates for endurance
It’s no secret that carbohydrates are an essential part of any football player’s diet.
Carbohydrates provide fuel for your muscles, so it’s important to get enough of them in order to have enough energy to last through a long match.
Some good sources of carbohydrates include whole grain breads and pastas, brown rice, quinoa, oats, sweet potatoes, bananas, and apples.
Try to avoid simple sugars like candy or sugary drinks as these will give you a quick surge of energy followed by a crash later on in the game.
Protein for muscle repair and clarity
Protein is also really important for football players because it helps repair damaged muscles after a game or practice session.
Eating protein-rich foods before the game can also help sharpen your mental clarity by improving focus and concentration. It all goes a long way to helping you keep your head in the game.
Good sources of protein include lean meats like chicken breast or salmon, beans, nuts and nut butters, eggs, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese.
Fat for Energy Storage
Not all fats are bad! Fat provides energy storage which is useful when playing sports that require long bouts of physical activity like football.
Healthy fats like avocado and olive oil can help keep your body energized throughout the match without causing fatigue or sluggishness later on in the game.
Other good sources of healthy fats include nuts and seeds as well as fatty fish such as salmon or tuna.
Of course, staying hydrated is always important when playing any sport—soccer included—but especially so when playing in hot weather or in humid conditions.
Make sure to drink plenty of fluids leading up to the match and throughout the game itself in order to prevent dehydration and cramping—and don’t forget electrolytes too!
Coconut water or sports drinks are good sources of electrolytes that will help replenish lost minerals after intense exercise like football matches.
Watch and learn: What to eat before a football match.
Here’s a great video that gives you some expert nutrition advice about what you should be eating to be 100% ready and at the top of your game.
- Always eat something before your match to make sure you have the energy levels necessary
- Include complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats in each meal or snack
- Refuel at halftime but avoid sugary snacks like candy bars – natural sugars such as bananas or dates are great alternatives
- After the match, be sure to refuel properly with lots of lean proteins and healthy fats.
What to eat the night before your match?
‘Carb loading’ is very much a real thing. When it comes to the night before a big game, it’s important to prepare yourself by fueling up with plenty of carbohydrates.
Complex carbs such as whole grains are especially beneficial as they digest slowly over time, providing sustained energy throughout your match. Pasta can make you feel heavy and sluggish.
We love sweet potatoes which are are an excellent source of complex carbs; they also provide vitamins A and C which help keep your immune system strong – especially important if you play in colder weather!
If you find yourself short on time, a bowl of porridge is a great way to get some complex carbs in quickly. Pair this with some lean protein like fish or chicken for complete nutrition.
Recipes and meals we love for the night before your match:
What to eat for breakfast on the morning of your match?
On the morning of your match, it’s important to start off with something light that won’t weigh you down on the pitch or slosh around inside your tummy.
You might be feeling nervous and this could affect your appetite! But it’s important to eat something up to one hour before to make sure you have the energy levels necessary to stay focused during your game.
Instead of going for heavy pastries or pancakes, opt for something like Greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit or some overnight oats instead.
This combination provides both carbohydrates and protein so you can stay energized throughout your game without feeling sluggish.
Recipes and meals we love for breakfast on the morning of your match:
What should you eat at half time?
It’s ok to refuel at half time, but be careful you don’t overdo it!
If you need quick energy during halftime, reach for snacks that contain natural sugars such as bananas or dates rather than sugary processed treats like candy bars or chips – these will cause a sugar crash later on! Put down those Haribos!
Try adding nuts into your diet as well. Almonds are packed full of healthy fats that will help support energy levels throughout the second half of the game.
If you don’t have any fresh fruit handy, a handful of trail mix is another great option!
Snacks to eat at half time:
- Fresh fruit such as apples or bananas
- Dates for an instant energy boost
- A handful of nuts like almonds or walnuts
- Trail mix with dried fruits and nuts.
What to eat after your match?
Immediately after your match ends, it is essential that you refuel your body properly in order to aid muscle recovery.
If you’ve worked hard enough, you’ll be starving! And we often feel ravenous into the next day too.
Protein is the one key component here; think eggs (scrambled or boiled), tuna salad sandwiches on 100% whole grain bread, grilled chicken breast with quinoa or brown rice – all excellent sources of protein that will help rebuild strained muscles while keeping blood sugar levels balanced too!
Additionally, try adding in some healthy fats like avocado slices which have anti-inflammatory effects and are full of unsaturated fatty acids – perfect post-match fare!
Recipes and meals we love for after your match:
What happens if I don’t eat the right food before a match?
If you don’t fuel yourself with the right foods before a match, you’ll know it.
It could leave you feeling sluggish and fatigued during gameplay. Not only will this affect your performance, but it can also put a strain on your body.
Eating the wrong food can lead to an energy crash as well as dehydration if you haven’t drunk enough water throughout the day.
Plus, eating junk food or heavily processed foods low in nutrients can deplete essential vitamins and minerals needed for optimal performance – ouch!
So make sure to stock up on plenty of nutritious pre-match snacks and meals so you feel ready to take on any challenges that may come your way!
The final score
Eating the right foods before a football match can make all the difference in how well you perform on the pitch.
Make sure to load up on complex carbohydrates for energy endurance; protein for muscle repair and clarity; and healthy fat for energy storage throughout the match!
With these tips in mind you’ll be ready to take on whatever comes your way during your next big football match! Go team!
Happy eating! And don’t forget that proper nutrition is only one part of being an athlete – now go out there and show them what you’ve got! Good luck!