What to eat and what not to eat while watching football? The age-old question is still relevant everywhere, including in youth football. Parents want to know how to fuel their children’s education while also ensuring their children’s growth and well-being. And, with so much conflicting information available on the Internet, developing a clear diet plan can be difficult.
So let us simplify things for you so you can do what is best for your child and help him succeed on and off the field.
Some Basic Information
Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are the three basic macronutrients. Aside from these, other micronutrients include minerals such as iron and calcium, as well as vitamins. All of these should be present in sufficient quantities in a well-balanced diet.
The problem arises when you have to modify these to meet the needs of your child. So, let’s take a look at the basic functions of each macronutrient and what to eat while watching football.
Carbohydrates as Fuel
Carbohydrates are best thought of as fuel for the body.
However, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Their glycemic index is a good way to categorize them. That is, how much insulin they produce to transport glucose molecules to the muscles.
As a result, a high glycemic index food would significantly raise insulin levels and ensure an adequate supply of glucose to the muscles. However, the effect would be temporary, and if muscle stores were already depleted or the person was not using glucose, the glucose would be converted to fat. In conclusion, high GI foods provide a quicker source of energy that does not last long. Fruit juices, white bread, white rice, and sugary drinks are examples of high-GI foods.
Foods with a low glycemic index, on the other hand, do not raise insulin levels as quickly. This is due to the increased fiber content, which causes them to be released slowly from the gut. This makes them good sources of continuous energy throughout the day, but they are not as effective for instant energy as high GI foods. Brown bread, oats, lentils, and many fruits, when eaten raw, are examples of low GI foods (and not as a juice).
Protein for Muscle Recovery and Growth
Protein’s primary function is to help maintain muscles and other bodily organs and to participate in growth.
Protein is used by gym goers because it helps their bodies recover from the damage they do to their muscles in the gym. Protein can help a young athlete recover from strains and injuries by reducing muscle soreness after training.
If you want your child’s diet to be disciplined, protein is also quite filling and keeps cravings at bay.
Fats to Boost Metabolism
The majority of hormones in the body are fat derivatives. As a result, adequate fat intake is critical for your child’s growth.
Healthy fats also increase metabolism and are essential for brain health. Most sources of healthy fats are also excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, so it is always beneficial for your child to eat while playing football. They are also the most caloric-dense nutrients available, so using them appropriately is advised.
This means slightly increasing them when your child needs to gain weight and slightly decreasing them when he needs to maintain his weight.
Never Forget Water
Let’s be clear about something. A balanced diet cannot be achieved without adequate water consumption. And adequate hydration is critical for a young football player trying to succeed.
Water is frequently overlooked because thirst does not always occur in cooler climates. After all, thirst is not a reliable indicator of dehydration. Making it a habit to keep a water bottle with your child and ensuring that he or she drinks from it on a regular basis is critical to their health.
It is unnecessary to discuss the benefits of hydration and its importance of it during physical activity. Make it a habit for your child to drink water before and after games, as well as at 15-20 minute intervals during training.
There are many energy drinks on the market now, but they are better for players who are engaged in strenuous activity with few breaks in between. They replenish minerals and electrolytes in the body that are lost during sweating. But, in reality, nothing beats regular water, especially on normal training days.
Because many of these drinks contain caffeine, limiting your consumption may be a good idea. So, try to limit your intake of caffeine-free energy drinks. When it comes to replenishing electrolytes and minerals, a banana after a game or lemon water can be quite effective.
Vitamins & Minerals
There are numerous vitamins and minerals to remember, and each one serves an important function in the human body.
However, a well-balanced diet rich in the usual macronutrients usually suffices to meet the need for these vitamins and minerals. Iron and calcium are two minerals that should be mentioned.
Calcium is extremely effective at increasing bone strength. It is an essential component in maintaining bone health that cannot be overstated for a child. Calcium and other macronutrients are abundant in fish, beans, poultry, whole milk, and nuts. They are necessary foods to consume while playing football. Iron, on the other hand, ensures adequate oxygen supply to the muscles and can delay the onset of fatigue, ensuring that your child goes the extra mile during training and match days.
Iron-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables, meat, whole grains, tuna, and lean white meat should be included in your child’s diet, making them essential foods to consume while playing football or any other sport.
Diet before Football Training
On training days, the priority should be to ensure adequate nutrition. Along with carbs, the diet should include enough protein and fat. Of course, carbs are the operation’s fuel and should be added accordingly.
On training days, focus on low-GI foods that stay in the bloodstream longer and provide a more consistent source of energy. So brown rice with salmon or oatmeal with berries and yogurt are both excellent choices.
Because training is not as strenuous as match days, a controlled amount of high GI simple sugars is advised. These foods are consumed an hour before training in order to fuel the workout while remaining light. They will be easily digested and utilized by your child.
It is beneficial to include healthy fats on training days because they can be heavy on the stomach. As a result, it can be difficult to include on match days.
Diet on Matchdays
Match days can be extremely hectic, necessitating the consumption of high GI simple sugars. It’s as simple as that.
These act as fuel for the body, providing stamina and energy. When you combine simple sugars like fruit juices, rice cakes, and toast with jam with adequate hydration, you are setting your child up for success. Basically, proteins and healthy fats should be avoided during the game and instead consumed throughout the day, particularly at breakfast and dinner.
It is critical to replenish electrolytes and protein after the game. A caffeine-free energy drink after a game could be a good choice because it replenishes electrolytes while also providing fluids. Similarly, including protein at night, such as chicken breast or salmon with a few leafy green vegetables, is a good idea. This allows for adequate muscle repair and reduces soreness the next morning. Lean meat and leafy greens contain calcium and iron, which help to keep bones strong and the body oxygenated.
The benefit of reducing soreness is that it keeps kids interested. No child wants to wake up in pain the next morning, so protein should be included to prevent muscle soreness.
Maintaining a healthy diet for your child is critical for his or her growth and development in football. Using carbohydrates as the primary fuel is always recommended for this purpose. Using high-GI foods immediately before training and low-GI foods a few hours before training keeps your child energized throughout the day.
The importance of protein in repairing minor injuries and increasing a child’s muscle mass should not be underestimated. Similarly, enough healthy fats should be consumed to keep the metabolism in check. To top it all off, ensuring adequate hydration and a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron and calcium should result in a perfect diet.
Having said that, much of nutrition is learned through trial and error. Keeping the fundamentals in mind, experimenting, and seeing what works for your child and what he/she should eat for football is a good way to proceed.
Here are Some of our Favourite Football (Soccer) Cleats
Here we will be giving more of an opinion, rather than facts. Are the cleats worth the price that they are being sold at? Should you upgrade from your current cleats, depending on what boots you own? What features stand out in these cleats? If any. Does it do the job? Speed, control, stability etc.
Depending on your needs/preferences. We can also mention its durability, if we have collected enough data on the specific cleats.
What did we expect vs. what we got. Is it maybe overrated/underrated?
Here’s our pick from the very best of the bunch.
On your way to the pro leagues? Here’s our pick.
Want something to start with? Have a look at our pick.