Fuelling and hydrating for a morning game starts the day before. Use this time to offer meals and snacks based on quality carbohydrates and encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids. Most footballers that I know have specific foodie traditions the night before a game. In our house, spaghetti bolognese is served with a dessert of ice-cream. This has been Nigel’s meal the night before a game for his entire professional (and junior) career. I literately have a freezer stocked with spaghetti bol to keep us organised. Pasta is a common choice, but remember, there are other foods containing carbohydrate that can effectively fuel your junior footballer for a big game. Some great higher carb, low fat options include:
You can offer a dessert option just to make sure that their muscle fuel stores are nice and stocked.
Some of our fav options are:
The timing of eating and the amount of food tolerated on game-day again will just depend on your child’s tolerance, nerves and time of the game.
For a morning game, aim to have a higher carbohydrate, lower protein and lower fat breakfast at least 2 hours before kick-off. Remember, a bigger meal is generally tolerated about 4 hours before starting time with a smaller meal/snack recommended about 2 hours before. Offer some fluid at this meal to allow time for it to absorb and your child to go to the toilet before kick-off. Carbohydrate containing liquids such as milk and juice can offer additional carbohydrate, which is handy if appetites are low.
Some breakfast options may include:
“when we play in late in the afternoon or early evening have a bowl of weetbix with milk, banana and honey for breakfast, 2-3 sandwiches on grain bread with chicken, cheese, tomato and lettuce for lunch (about 4 hours before kick-off) and have a snack of toast with banana and honey about 2 hours before kick-off. I also have a drink bottle by my side all day but drink most of my fluid the day before a game and throughout the morning. I don’t want to rely on the afternoon to drink as I don’t want to be going to the toilet during the game! I find that this works for me and over the years have figured out the perfect timing of my eating.” Nigel Boogaard
You can also use the training information as a guide for fuelling for an afternoon or evening game.
The same rules apply after a game as they do for training. Focus on the 3 R’s (refuel with carbohydrate, repair with protein and rehydrate with fluids and electrolytes).
For an afternoon or night game, take some inspiration from our time-saving meal ideas section. If the game is scheduled for the morning or middle of the day lunch may be the perfect recovery meal, which may include:
Remember to encourage fluids at this recovery meal!
© Caravella Football Academy 2020