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Getting your food choices right will impact your performance on the day… from how far and fast you can run, to your decision making, passing accuracy and how quickly you tire! Fuel your body right and you’ll have an advantage over the opposition! Get it not quite right, or don’t think about it all and you’ll be running on fumes by the time the final whistle blows.

So, what should youth footballers eat in the build-up to matches? Read on to find out…

Pre Game Meal Options

  • Porridge made with semi-skimmed milk with honey and fruit

  • Large bowl of cornflakes with semi-skimmed milk and a banana plus fruit juice

  • Chicken pasta in a tomato sauce with a bread roll

  • Tuna baguette and a fruit salad with a glass of juice

  • Ginger or Tumeric shots

Handy tip: drinking beetroot juice before a workout can boost performance, improve blood and oxygen flow to tired muscles, and increase endurance.

Changing Room Snacks

Use your time in the changing room to get in your final nutrition preparations and make sure you’re hydrated too. While getting ready for the game, and after the warmup, be sure to have some high carb snacks handy.

These need to be simple foods that are light on the stomach and easy to digest like:

  • Sports drinks

  • Jaffa Cakes

  • Banana

  • Jelly Sweets

Half Time

Even If you’ve nailed your nutrition on MD-1 and pre-game, your body can only store enough fuel for about 60-90 minutes of high intensity exercise. So, to prevent you running out halfway through the second half, you need to refuel and rehydrate at half time. Aim to consume around 30g of easy to digest, simple carbohydrates, such as:

  • Sports drinks

  • Jaffa Cakes

  • Banana

  • Jelly Sweets

Post Match

Your fuelling strategy doesn’t stop at full-time. What you eat in the hours after your game is going to determine how well you recover and will set you up for the training week ahead. A high carb and high protein snack in the changing room, followed by a nutritious meal in the 1-2 hours afterward is ideal.

Some good options are:

  • Chocolate milk and a banana

  • Recovery shake

  • Sweet chilli chicken or Quorn with stir-fry veg and noodles

  • Beef or bean chilli with rice


Some Ideal meals for recovery are:

  • Breakfast- Scrambled eggs and avocado on toast with orange juice

  • Mid-morning Snack- Greek yoghurt and a banana

  • Lunch- Asian salmon, rice and greens

  • Afternoon snack- handful of mixed nuts

  • Dinner- Chicken fajitas with veg and salad

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