What not to Eat Before a Soccer Game
Four Meal Mistakes to Avoid Before Soccer Game Tips
Whether you are an soccer player yourself or if you're caring for and are a parent of an athlete, it’s one of the most important decisions to make in preparing for a big game—the diet.
Although your child or you might want to something very particular before a game it’s important to follow a few simple guidelines to be fueled for the game.
Another specific fact you can’t and shouldn't miss here is the timing. If you are not eating with certain gaps before and after a game, you or your child will suffer during the game, either with a too-full stomach or not-enough rumbles.
Most mistakes stem from timing:
- When You Eat Too Early: Especially since most foods recommended to eat before game time are quick energy, they may have depleted before game time has even come around the corner. That stretch of reserve-energy may be running on E right before you lace on your boots. Throughout the day, your glycogen reserves will naturally deplete, regardless of the energy you're expending, so don’t think that sitting, waiting around for practice or the game to start will help keep that energy in your body.
- When You Eat Too Late: Another abysmal mistake you can make is eating way too close to game time. It happens to the best of us who have just had a busy day and are feeling hungry right before game time. However, this mistake is quite costly because it takes time for the body to digest a meal and turn carbohydrates into glycogen, which you can then use for energy. Not only does your body not have enough time to use that “fuel” you just placed in your body on purpose, you'll just feel heavy and playing on a full stomach is really uncomfortable and can get quite messy…
However, timing isn't the only mistake that soccer players (or their parents) can make when it comes to eating in preparation for the game. You or your child should also avoid:
- Loading Up on Protein or Fat: Especially right before the game (or even if there are a couple hours, you want to be wary of eating too many foods filled with protein. This food will take much longer to digest then starch, so if you're going to eat before the match, make the protein intake moderate. Even worse, fat will take even longer to digest! So, don’t ever swing by the fast food drive-thru on your way to the game. Not only will it take really long to digest, it will make you extremely uncomfortable during the game.
- Loading Up on Sugar: Even though you've heard that sugar can get you that high you might be looking for, it also comes with the inevitable crash after a while. You might be getting your kicks from those sugary energy drinks or sports drinks but you'll realize halfway through that game that it’s not working any longer, leaving you feeling even groggier than before.
Try to avoid these easily-manageable mistakes and be fueled up properly and feeling good for your next game!
Written By: Adriana Rodrigues is a professional soccer player and a coach. She has over twenty years of experience in soccer after having played in a Division 1 University and has represented two national teams, both Brazil and Portugal.