The Deep Run FC Bucks North advises its young athletes to make proper nutrition an important component of increasing game and practice performance as well as good general health.
- 3-4 hours before you warm up, enjoy a carbohydrate-rich meal. Do not eat anything fried, sugary, or too rich in protein. Also avoid salad. All of these things can be hard to digest.
- Examples of good choices are: Whole oatmeal, fresh fruit, buckwheat granola, brown rice pasta, plain Greek yogurt with nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, nut butter on whole grain bread.
- Drink two cups of fluids – water or sports drink.
During practice/game fuel:
- 2-cups of sports drink at a rate of 50 grams of carbs per hour.
Post practice/game fuel:
- The goal after practice is to help your body restore and maintain glycogen.
- Consume a simple sugar (fruit or juice) within 15 minutes of exercise.
- Eat within two hours to restore glycogen (waiting longer results in 50 percent less glycogen stored in the muscle).
- Adding an easily digestible protein to your carbohydrate within 30 minutes results in more glycogen stored. The rule-of-thumb is four grams of carbs for every one gram of protein. Examples may include a 4-1 ratio protein shake.
Eating at night after a late practice:
- A salad with lots of vegetables, legumes, lentils or a piece of lean meat.
- A bowl of quinoa: carbs and protein all in one.
- A green smoothie.
It is especially important to follow the above eating and rehydration guidelines during tournaments when players may play in several games over the course of two to three days. In addition, after each day’s last game, players should get plenty of rest, stay out of the sun, and refuel and rehydrate in preparation for the next day’s games.