“Practice makes perfect”, is a very true saying that I can remember as far back as me being a kid and will probably never stop being said. Another saying is “You are what you eat”, which is very true as well. If you eat garbage, you will be garbage, and in this case since we are soccer players our game will be garbage. Practicing is 50% of your performance and the other 50% is your diet. Now when I say diet it doesn’t mean fasting, eating meal replacements and that type of stuff, what diet really means is how you eat. Everyone has their own diet and based on what your life demands will determine the type of foods/nutrition you need. Now the information I’m going to give you is not something you will have to follow word for word, any type of athlete more or less needs same nutrition. This post is called the Soccer Player Diet because well, that’s what this website is about. Everyone is different and not everyone likes the same type of foods, so take the information I have given and use it to your advantage and feel free to share ideas/information as well.
It is important to make sure you take in the right amount of calories every day. More or less you will need to take in about…
- 22-24 calories per pound of body weight a day.
You need 3 types of fats to maintain a healthy balance.
- Saturated – Eggs, Tropical oils (Coconut, palm kernel or palm ), and Animal fats
- Monounsaturated – Oils from plants (Avocado, nuts, olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, )
- Polyunsaturated – can from plants and animals. (salmon, corn oil, soybean, flax seeds/oil, walnuts)
Eat foods are slow burning/digesting such as…
- Beans and legumes: Black beans, Pinto Beans, Butter Beans. Cannellini beans).
- Whole grain breads and cereals: sourdough bread, rye bread, pumpernickel. Corn Tortillas, Muli Grain,
Grains: Barley, buckwheat, bulgur wheat, millet, cream of wheat, oatmeal, quinoa.
- Pasta and Rice: Whole grain pasta, Brown rice, whole-wheat couscous, wild rice.
- Sweet potatoes
- 1 – 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
- Red and white meat
Fruits rich in antioxidants are the ones you want to go for. The antioxidants well help reduce muscle soreness and inflamation when you have an injury. Here are some fruits that are high in antioxidants.
- Cherries, and tart cherries
- Blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, rasberries
- Coconut water
- Cocoa and Dark chocolate (not a fruit but a good source of antioxidants)
- Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collard greens, cabbage, romaine lettuce
- Wheat grass ( VERY HEALTHY)
- Barley grass
*if you not a “veggie” type of person I would recommend taking supplements. Vegetables are extremely important in any diet.
Scrambled eggs and cream of wheat
- 2-3 eggs
- onions or green onions
- 1/2 bell pepper
- 1/2 of oatmeal or cream of wheat measured dry
- 1-2 Tbls spoon honey
- 1-2 Tbls spoon flax seeds
What I like to do is scramble the eggs separate in a pan at medium heat until about half way cooked , which will be about 2 minutes, and at the same time I have already chopped and mixed the, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions (measured to your liking) together and sautee them with vegetable/olive oil in a separate pan. Then once the mix is done ( you don’t have to cook them for long, about 1-2 minutes at medium heat) I mix it with the eggs then finish cooking for about another 1-2 minutes or depending on how cooked you want the eggs. This is half of the breakfast, the second half will be the cream of wheat or oatmeal.
The cream of wheat is very easy to make but requires your up most attention. Measure 3/4- 1 cup of water or milk (you will get more calories if you use milk). Once water/milk is boiling, gradually pour the cream of wheat into the water/milk. Please keep in mind once at this step you will need to continuously stir the mix until you have an even consistency. Not to thick not to watery. If you let it sit, the cream of wheat will get hard and chunky. Next you will mix in the honey and flax seeds ( honey and flax seeds are very calorie dense). You will easily get between 700- 900 calories in this one meal alone! With the oatmeal it’s a lot easier, just mix the milk/water with the oatmeal from the start and cook until oatmeal is soft and you have a nice consistency. If this meal is to much for you, then do the eggs with a side of toast and a cup greek yogurt. And with the oatmeal/cream of wheat, mix in 1 serving of any fruit of your choice.
- Turkey meat
- cheddar cheese
- 1/2- 1 avocado
- 1 serving of spinach or any other type of leafy greens,
Turkey is lean, an excellent source of protein. and my on favorite type of meat, not to mention its pretty cheap. The ingredients for the wrap will be the same for both. Tomatoes, 1/2-1 avocado, spinach, cheddar cheese, onions and whole grain/multi grain wrap and/or bun. For the wrap you will want turkey fillets or you can find them at the store cut up into chunks. All you need to do to is cook the turkey on a pan with and assemble the wrap or burger. Quick and easy.
- Nuts (Walnuts, cashews, pecans, peanuts, pistachios etc.)
- Greek yogurt
- Dried fruit or fresh fruit (blueberries, strawberries, bananas, cherries, pomegranate, mango, )
- Peanut butter
- Cocoa or dark chocolate
Make sure you snack at least twice a day, before and after lunch. Some people like to have protein shakes which is fine I guess, but they are very filling and it’s going to be miserable trying to get all these meals in, Ive been there. The key is to eat snacks that are light but calorie/nutrition dense. A quick and easy snack that you can prepare at home to have multiple serverings through your week is trail mix. The mix I make consists of raisins, almonds and dark chocolate chips. You can add things to this like banana chips, yogurt covered raisins or whatever. I like to keep it simple and light. The almonds may be a little pricey but that’s just how it is, they are expensive, raisins and dark chocolate chips are pretty cheap.
- 1 fillet of salmon
- 2 lemons
- 1tbl spoon of minced garlic or 1-2 garlic cloves
- 1 serving or mashed potatoes
- 1 serving of salad (leafy greens) or aspargus
Samon is another great source of protein and has the healthy fats we need. What I like to do is soak the salmon in lemon juice for at least 20 minutes. Then I’ll spread some Italian herb paste mix which has parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary & thyme which you can find at any grocery store and sprinkle garlic on it. If you like fresh ingredients you can buy all the herbs mentioned in the paste chop them up. If you have a high speed blender use that to the work. Once its chopped up mix it with some olive oil. I usually bake the salmon at 400 degrees fahrenheit for about 30-40 minutes. One the side you want nice big portion of salad and mash potatoes or sweet potatoes. You can substitute the the potatoes for wild/brown rice.
Meals before the game need to be focused around carbs and avoid fatty foods. Here are some guidelines you can follow.
- 1-4 g/kg of your body weight in carbs
- 0.25-0.4 g/kg in protein
Post Game Recovery
After a match you want to focus on getting plenty of protein and carbs.
The information I have provided is based on my personal experiences and opinions and research I have done. For the meals I wanted to provide some examples of easy affordable meals you can easily prep at home without being a chef. I don’t consider myself a great cook, but I know how to get by. If you are the type that is on the go, really bad at cooking or just not a veggie lover. I recommend drinking veggies. You can blend them in a high speed blender ( I use the nutribullet) and add fruit as well or add your favorite juice to it for flavor. There’s also this company called Ora Organic that sells tons of supplements. There greens power is the one you would want. I hope you have found this information helpful and share your ideas here as well.