The Eat My Sports! Match Day Menu

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Are you a sportsman? If not don’t worry. This is for attempted sportsmen (like myself) too.

The following advice is as much for Dads, Saturday morning footballers and Sunday village cricketers as it is for Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane. At the end of the day we’re all the same – except for the fifty grand a week pay cheques.

Whatever your favourite sporting pastime, and whatever your level, it’s important to watch what you eat on match day. In fact, it’s actually important to be careful throughout the whole week. You’re not going to perform well if you’ve had ten pints and a kebab the night beforehand.

The dietary choices you make before, during and after sport can have a big impact on your performance, recovery and general fitness. Here’s what I’ve discovered with a little help from the maxinutrition website.

Breakfast

I’m afraid that your usual cheese croissant with a side of kippers isn’t going to cut it. Go for a low-GI cereal like porridge instead. Alternatively you could do worse than eating eggs – they’re high in protein and will make you feel fuller for longer.

Try your eggs with rye bread rather than fried bacon. Whatever you do, don’t eat too much though. If you’re still hungry eat a banana and avoid fibre – it takes ages to digest.

Lunch

If your match starts after 2.30 then you’ve got time for lunch. Make it a light one though. My personal nutritionist (also known as my wife) recommends some wholemeal pasta with carrots and leafy greens.

Once again look for low-GI carbohydrates and drink plenty of water or isotonic drinks rather than black coffee. If you lose just 2% of your body weight through sweating you’ll feel knackered in no time. Your focus will also wander.

Pre-match

If you’ve eaten lunch you shouldn’t really need to snack before kick-off. But if you can’t resist filling your face – you greedy porker – eat some low-fat yoghurt or even better a granola bar.

To be honest it’s far more important to stay hydrated at this point though. Grab some more water or maybe even some orange juice. The latter has potassium, which helps your muscles.

After the match

You’ve lost 6-0 and your muscles hurt. Sound familiar? Perhaps you play for Aston Villa. Either way it’s important to rehydrate straight away.

Drinking the right fluids will help you to recover and ease your aches and pains. Drinks containing antioxidants, carbs and protein are good for this sort of thing.

Evening Meal

I hate to be a killjoy but it’s best to eschew the post-match curry with mates. If you want act like a pro then cook some turkey-based chilli-con-carne or sushi. Even better get someone else to cook it for you. Tell them anything that’s rich in protein and omega 3 will do.

As for a post-match tipple I heartily recommend a pint of Drambuie. Just kidding. Alcohol is best avoided if you want to be the new David Beckham. If you want to be the new Paul Gascoigne though, be my guest.

James Morgan

5 Comments

  1. A few years ago I was playing football on a Saturday afternoon and I needed to take an early lunch before heading down to my game. I had some Indian food before heading off. Needless to say it really felt heavy on the body and I never made the same mistake again. I would like to point out that I come from a mixed Indian/English family so Indian food had always been part of my diet, but I learnt the lesson the hard way that it wasn’t the best food for a pre match meal. I had never taken it before a game when i was younger.

  2. I joined a cricket club years back and, in our favourite pub after nets, our leggie revealed that he had joined for a bit of exercise and to lose weight. However, he had actually put weight on due to the post cricket refreshments. None of us could have imagined “warming down” after a game without a beer or two or three.

  3. What’s the point in playing cricket if you’re not going to have a beer or ten with the boys/girls afterwards?

    I always feel sick on the morning of matches so generally eat very little. I might be able to force down a bacon sandwich at a push.

    One thing I don’t like about village cricket is the way teas are organised: you spend most of the game starving, but are only allowed to eat either right before you are about to bat, or right before you are about to bowl. If we’ve batted first, and I get out in the 30th over after an hour or so of batting, I’d like to eat and drink something straight away so I’ve got time to digest it before going out to field.

    Conversely, if we’re batting second then often I don’t eat any tea at all immediately before I go out to bat, and by the time I get back in the pavilion its all been packed away – what a waste of a money!

    I would prefer if there was a buffet put out in each innings for the batting side to take as and when they want.

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