For games that take place in the early afternoon, it is important to eat well during the previous lunch (if your game takes place on Saturday evening, see the article on this subject). For this, here are the tips from Nicolas Aubineau, Dietician Nutritionist specializing in sports nutrition, with concrete examples of dishes that are easy to prepare: starter, main course and dessert.
When to have lunch?
Ideally, you should eat a maximum of 3 hours before a game, i.e. noon for a kick-off at 3pm. It is possible to eat a little before, but it is complicated to eat too much after, it is all about digestion. Ideally, the group should all get together to share a good meal (balanced, adapted, see next point) and discuss game instructions, group life…
What to eat before football?
Lunch should be well balanced around:
- Appetizers: all vegetables => vegetable salad (raw carrots), legumes (lentils, chickpeas).
- Meat: prefer lean meat (white meat without eating the skin), ground steak (5% fat), steak, cooked ham…
- Or fish: cod, hake, place, monkfish, turbot….
- Side dishes: al dente pasta, rice, potato with skin (steamed), sweet potato
- Yoghurt with low-fat fruit
- Fruits: any fruit, avoiding bananas that are too ripe (or too green).
- Water: sparkling or flat and if possible, from a water source (avoid waters rich in magnesium)
As a snack
- Dried fruit: apricots, grapes
- Oil fruits: pecan nuts, salted cashew nuts (well, gently because it’s greasy!).
Eat normally, no more than usual to avoid digestive problems. Don’t change your coffee habits, it’s better not to have any than just coffee before the games.
You have to drink but drink wisely! Drink in small sips, calmly. We recommend taking 3 small sips and then waiting 3sec to drink 3 sips again and so forth. Try to have one bottle per player as much as possible to avoid what we often see: a player who drinks half a bottle at once to pass it on to his colleague! He is very likely to have a stomachache and his performance will be negatively affected.
With solid aliments, prefer dried fruit, orange, avoid bananas which are difficult to digest (or they must be very ripe).
There are sports drinks (which have nothing to do with energy drinks!) for athletes such as Isostar, PowerBar, High5. They provide carbohydrates (mostly “fast sugars”) with some vitamins and minerals. Feel free to invest in this type of beverage, they will be very useful and at a relatively low cost.
What to eat after football?
Ideally, there should be a meal for protein-based recovery (white meat, eggs, fish) with starchy foods (pasta, rice), a plain yogurt and a fruit. Avoid alcohol, sodas, pizzas, fast food! And unlike what most people think, the after game is important because it’s the preparation for the next training session!
The Prepa Physique Team