The physical demands of soccer require a ton of energy and this means you need to eat to fuel your body!
The only way to keep up with all of these physical demands for every training and game is to give your body the fuel it needs. Implementing a fueling plan is going to ensure that your body has the energy it needs to compete at your full potential on the field.
Before we jump into what you need to eat, you must understand the basics of the food you eat.
The largest component of a soccer player’s diet is going to be carbohydrates. Carbohydrates (carbs) are your body’s preferred source of energy. While all of your meals and snacks should contain carbs, the amount and type will vary.
For example, at meals, you should aim to incorporate grains and starches for proper energy intake. Some examples are
Carbs that are rich in vitamins and minerals, like fruits and vegetables, should be included as well. These still provide energy (calories) but not as many as your grains and starches. You need both! It is easy to think of these carbs as “color”!
If you are stuck on which fruits and vegetables to include, my weekly grocery store list for soccer players’ blog breaks it down for you. Additionally, download your free grocery store list for soccer players!
Since carbs are an important source of energy for the body, your body will benefit from having them before your practice. When you are looking for a pre-practice snack, opt for quick energy (carbohydrate) sources such as bananas or applesauce. A soccer girl pre-practice favorite are these healthy cookie dough protein bites! My soccer girls snack on 1-2 of these before training and know you will love them too!
Protein is essential to building and maintaining lean muscle mass. Getting in enough protein throughout the day is a must for soccer players! While protein plays a major role in muscle growth it also functions to support a healthy immune system and provide structure to other parts of the body. I recommend you consume 20-30 grams of protein at every meal and 10-15 grams with every snack.
Protein Ideas (that are equal to about 20 grams of protein)
Fats also have many important roles in your body. Along with protein, they help to support a healthy immune system. They help your body absorb a handful of vitamins, support brain function and reduce inflammation.
Some of my girls’ favorite fats are:
Fat is a very important nutrient for the body but consuming snacks and meals high in fat too close to practice or game time may cause an upset stomach. You should incorporate fats into all meals and snacks but large intakes should occur away from training.
About The Contributor: Reilly
Reilly is a retired college soccer player turned Sports Dietitian living in Los Angeles, California. Reilly currently is the performance nutrition coordinator at UCLA and owns her own business Reilly Beatty Sports Nutrition LLC. Reilly specializes in helping professional female soccer players to compete at the highest level and achieve an athlete body they love.
When Reily isn’t watching sports or playing soccer, you can find her hanging out with her husband and 2 dogs at the beach!