Fuel For Success

If you’ve ever wondered what your child should be eating before, during and after their Fulham Soccer Schools sessions, we’ve got the answer. We caught up with a member of our Sports Medicine and Exercise Science team, Jamie, to discuss nutrition and healthy options for young footballers.

FSS.com: What, and when, would you recommend young footballers eat before they take part in a full day of Fulham Soccer Schools?

Jamie: Breakfast is one of the most fundamental meals of the day in order to give young footballers plenty of energy and best prepare them for an intense day of football training. Breakfast between 7:30-8:00am (for a 9am start) would leave plenty of time for the body to digest and utilise the nutrients and provide plenty of energy before the day’s training.

I would recommend a breakfast made up of a mixture of complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy, natural fats. I’d recommend eggs on wholegrain toast or wholegrain porridge oats with natural peanut butter, which would provide a good amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates and fibre, with a couple of glasses of water.

FSS.com: What makes a good lunch for young players to take with them, before taking part in the afternoon’s matches?

Jamie: Lunch between bouts of training is extremely important; the lunch needs to contain enough high-quality ingredients to not only provide enough energy for the second training session, but to aid in the player’s recovery from the first.

Firstly, I would recommend minimising the amount of sweets/sugary snacks, fizzy drinks and processed food young players consume overall, but especially prior to training. These types of foods would not aid in the recovery or production of energy. They tend to cause more harm, stress and unhealthy lifestyle and habits.

Our First Team regularly take part in double sessions and we feed them at lunch with a blend of high-quality ingredients. Good protein sources include chicken breasts, plain-natural Greek yoghurt, beef, tuna or eggs. Carbohydrates are key and good sources include sweet potato, gluten free pasta/rice products, or wholemeal pastas/rice/breads. We recommend vegetables from an organic source where pesticides are kept to a minimum or not found at all. A fibrous snack in the form of nuts such as peanuts, almonds, walnuts and cashews with a piece of fruit such as bananas, apples, oranges, any type of berry etc. is recommended as an accompaniment, again with plenty of water to keep the player hydrated.

FSS.com: How important is a healthy dinner in getting players ready to play a number of days in a row?

Jamie: Dinner is normally the last thing we eat prior to sleeping, which is when your body uses almost the entire time you are asleep to recover from the day’s training. What your child eats for dinner after a day’s training is really important to speed up the recovery process and prepare them for the next day.

Night time is also the longest period of time your body will go without food and water, therefore your child’s body will absorb and utilise most of the nutrients from their dinner for fuel, energy, hydration and recovery. With a high-quality nutritious meal, both recovery and performance the next day will be vastly improved. Again, a balanced meal containing complex carbohydrates, a good source of protein, healthy fats and fibre is the perfect way to speed up the recovery process.

FSS.com: How much does the nutrition for Soccer School participants differ from what the First Team will eat?

Jamie: The principles would be relatively similar in nature. Footballers at every level should focus their nutrition around high-quality ingredients to provide them with the energy to perform in training, to aid in their recovery and improve their performance on the pitch.

The First Team tend to be advised on more specific types and amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fats and vegetables that they should eat in order to fulfil their individual macronutrient requirements on a daily basis. Players may also be advised on specific supplements, vitamins, minerals, quantities, and nutrient timing to further aid in their recovery and physical development.

The players are often asked to record food diaries so that we can make sure they are eating not only the right types of food, but also the right amounts. This also gives us a chance to speak to the players and tailor the plan to meet their specific needs. We also advise players on different recipes or types of food sources to aid in improving their performance, recovery, growth, development, mental focus and body-composition.

Fulham Soccer Schools are currently on sale for Summer 2015, as well as our weekly Skills Club sessions, at a number of great venues across London and Surrey. For more information on the courses available, please click the ‘book now’ button at the top of this page.

Tagged with: Food, Fulham Soccer Schools, Health, London

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