These days, more and more people are beginning to understand the impact that nutrition has on every aspect of our lives. A balanced diet and nutritionally-dense food should be a priority for an aspiring football star, whether they’re just learning how to kick, or trying out for a pro team.
Football is a unique sport, requiring players to be in excellent shape. Without the right fuel, players won’t have the energy they need to make it through ninety minutes of sprinting, kicking, and defending the ball.
Whether you’re an aspiring football star yourself, or you simply want to make sure your kids have the fuel they need for practices and games, here are the best foods for footballers:
Carbohydrates are crucial for athletes, giving them the glycogen stores they need for energy. Glycogen stores are depleted during both training and games, which is why it’s also important that players eat carbs both before and after games and practices. This helps support recovery, decreasing inflammation and also ensuring that players get the fiber, minerals, and vitamins they need to stay healthy.
While many footballers use sports gels, drinks, and bars, these should just be used for games and fueling training sessions, and not completely relied upon for daily nutrition. Instead, aspiring football stars should reach for fruits like apples, bananas, pears, and pineapple. They’ll also need vegetables like lettuce, zucchini, peppers, spinach, and broccoli, along with sweet potatoes, potatoes, corn, and peas. Don’t forget about legumes and beans, and ensure their diet includes whole grains found in brown rice, wholewheat pasta, and low-sugar cereals.
Protein is essential for both building muscle and repairing the type of damage that occurs during games and practice. This should be eaten both before and after workouts, and while protein shakes can be useful, the goal should always be to meet dietary needs through real food.
Smoothies can be a great option for breakfast, with nut butter, Greek yogurt, and milk making a good base, along with fruits and maybe a scoop of protein powder. Make sure to also include fish, eggs, beans, lean red meats, and turkey or chicken when making snacks, lunches, and dinners.
Gone are the days when athletes were encouraged to eat a low-fat diet. Instead, aspiring football stars should aim for plenty of good fats, which will help players stay satisfied between meals, while also ensuring that the body absorbs nutrients. Fat is the most calorie-dense of all foods, so a little will go a long way.
Choose options like fatty fish (salmon is a great choice), along with dairy, olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds. Limit fried foods, margarine, and especially partially hydrogenated oil.
While the foods a football player eats will impact their physical performance, it will also affect their brain. Football is a game that requires quick decision-making, focus, and concentration, and without a nutritionally-balanced diet, players are more likely to suffer from brain fog- both on and off the field.
For aspiring football stars hoping to perform their best, a nutritionally-dense, balanced diet with enough carbs, protein, and healthy fat is key.
If you’d like to learn more about football at Kikoff, get in touch with one of our friendly team members today.