Quick Tips for Optimal Soccer Nutrition

Posted by Kaitlyn Battiste on Jul 30 2012 at 05:00PM PDT
  • Following a demanding training program increases the body's need for energy.  Extra meals or nutritious snacks and drinks should be eaten to provide enough fuel during strenuous conditioning periods. 
  • A soccer player's diet should consist of about 60-65% carbohydrate, 20-25% fat and 10-15% protein.
  • Carbohydrates should be predominantly in the form of fresh fruits and whole grains such as whole meal bread, pasta, potatoes and brown rice.  Protein should come from lean meats, poultry, fish, beans and nuts.
  • Saturated fat intake should be reduced in most cases i.e. full fat milk, cheeses, pastries, cookies, pies, fast food.  Fat should not be omitted from the diet.  Good fats are found in olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. 
  • Adequate viatmins and mineral intake comes from a well-balanced diet.  Supplementation is not need in healthy individuals who eat a wide range of foods that includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • The pre-match meal should be eaten at least 3 hours before kick off and should contain complext carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread or pasta, potato or rice.  Fruit is a good choice as well.  
  • In the hour before a game no carbohydrates should be consumed, including carbohydrate drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, etc.).  However, 5-10 minutes before kick off, 7-14oz of a suitable sports drink (NOT soda!) can be taken.
  • During half time another 10-17oz of a sports drink can be taken.  In hot climates try to drink 5-8oz every 20 minutes or so.
  • After a match try to consume as much carbohydrate in the first 2 hours as possible.  Foods like bananas and sandwiches will help to refuel muscles quickly.  High carbohydrate drinks like concentrated fruit juice offer a practical way to replenish carbohydrate stores.

Sample Day's Diet for a Soccer Player in Training


  • Piece of fruit
  • Bowl of oatmeal (sweeten with dried fruit or honey)
  • 3-4 slices of whole wheat bread toasted with small amount of butter/olive oil spread, jelly/jam
  • Glass of fresh fruit juice (not concentrated)


  • Piece of fresh fruit
  • Plain yogurt
  • 2-3 biscuits/cookies


  • Tna or grilled chicken
  • Bagel, baguette, etc (preferable whole wheat)
  • Mixed salad with olive oil and lemon juic dressing
  • Glass fresh fruit juice or low fat milk
  • Low fat or bran muffin
  • 1-2 bananas


  • Bag of nuts and raisins (such as almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, etc.)


  • Large serving rice or pasta
  • Tomato sauce
  • Grilled fish, chicken, or lean beef
  • Large mixed vegetable sald with dressing
  • Small serving of ice cream and strawberries

This is oe sample day only and a wide range of foods should be eaten.  Try also to drink 68oz of water each day (fluids as part of a sports drink also count). 

See the following for more ideas:



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