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Eating Right

I often get asked about the type of food a footballer should be eating


It is important to ensure that you eat adequate carbohydrate and plenty of fluid in the week before your competition. ​

The meal eaten before should be high in carbohydrate, to help top up your muscle glycogen stores which provide an important source of fuel for your activity.

A general guide is to have a meal 3-4 hours before competition and/or a lighter snack about 1-2 hours prior to your event.

It is advised that you experiment at training to find the timing that best suits you. Practice this before your competition.


Foods should be; high in carbohydrate, low in fat and moderate in fibre to assist in easy digestion, and be food and drinks you enjoy.

The following foods are suitable to eat 3-4 hours before exercise

  • Crumpets or toast with jam or honey

  • Baked beans on toast

  • Breakfast cereal with low fat milk and fruit

  • Fruit salad with fruit flavored yoghurt

  • Sandwich with cheese/meat filling and piece of fruit

  • Pasta or rice with low fat tomato based sauce

  • Jacket potato with creamed corn and cottage cheese

  • Pancakes with maple syrup or honey

The following snacks are suitable to eat 1-2 hours before exercise

  • Liquid meal supplement

  • Milk shake or fruit smoothie

  • Cereal/muesli or sports bars

  • Fruit and/ or fruit flavored yoghurt

The following snacks are suitable to eat < 1 hour before exercise

  • Sports drink

  • Carbohydrate gel

  • Cordial

  • Jelly beans.

If you suffer from pre-event nerves or can’t compete with a full stomach, try having nutritious drinks (e.g. Low fat smoothie) or liquid meal supplements, alternatively eat early and top up with drinks and by nibbling slowly on small snacks (bars, fruit etc) closer to the event.

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