Staying hydrated as a soccer player should always be a high priority. Players lose a lot of fluid when running around on the field. If they don’t replenish them, they could fall victim to dehydration or have even bigger complications.
However, there’s also a need to eat food at times to not feel light-headed. Too many players try to stay away from eating too much, but then they get themselves in trouble.
This is a look at what players should eat and drink when they are playing soccer. Not everyone will agree with everything listed, but the important thing is to find what works individually. It might take some time to find the right combination, but it eventually works.
Most soccer players drink fluids throughout a match. It’s generally much easier to drink something than to eat. With the body sweating so much running around on the pitch, fluids are crucial to keep the body moving.
There’s nothing quite like having water for any type of sport to replenish body fluid. It’s easy to have access to, incredibly cheap, and has been getting the job done in some capacity forever.
Bottled water is going to be high-quality so that there are no minerals or chemicals in the way. Players might mix something into the water for flavor for added nutrients and vitamins, but it’s still perfectly fine to drink plain water.
There are a few advantages to having sports drinks instead of water when taking a break from playing soccer. For starters, the taste is going to be a lot better for the vast majority of players.
They might not particularly love the taste of water, but a sports drink can bring something different to the table. Leaders like Powerade and Gatorade have dozens of flavors to pick from.
The main things that sports drinks have are sugar and salt which help replace electrolytes players lose when running around on the pitch.
Players sweat a lot and lose more than just water out of their bodies. Replenishing everything at once can be more efficient.
A relatively new option for even better hydration comes in the form of a hydration multiplier.
For a brand name, right now the most popular option is Liquid IV. These are electrolyte drinks that are striving to do an even better job than water or a typical sports drink.
Claiming that they can provide three times the amount of hydration compared to regular water, this is a quick answer for players who are feeling particularly tired. They can also help out with cramping or other issues a player‘s body goes through.
Drinking a Liquid IV casually isn’t recommended. However, getting just one drink during a match can make a difference.
Soda, Coffee, or Other Caffeine Drinks
The last option to make this list is probably the most controversial. The vast majority of players won’t want anything to do with a soda or coffee during a physical soccer match. However, players might occasionally look for caffeine as a stimulant to keep them going.
Drinking soda and coffee used to be a lot more prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s. However, as better sports drinks came along, players realized that they weren’t always the best.
There are still some lingering habits out there though, and if it works for a player, that’s all that matters.
Eating during a match isn’t as common as drinking something. However, players are known to pull out some snacks occasionally.
These are the best options for hungry players.
Bananas have always been a solid snack during all types of athletic activities. That’s because it has many nutrients, but the most important ones here are carbohydrates and potassium. Getting that into the system during play is going to help out tremendously.
Bananas also help a lot when it comes to fighting off cramps. They are very easy to digest, and it gets some extra sugar in the bloodstream as well.
The only tough part about bananas is that they can age very quickly. If a banana is sitting around for even a little bit, it can start to look pretty rough. It also will start to turn a little mushy so that it might not taste well.
For people who like fruit but don’t care for bananas, oranges can be another option to eat during a soccer match. They provide carbohydrates as well, but they don’t give athletes potassium.
However, they do a better job of providing fluids, which can help out in certain cases more than potassium.
Oranges are also a lot easier to digest and feel lighter overall. Some people who eat bananas feel like they are too much, and they can feel it in their stomachs when running around.
Energy bars, gels, and drinks are all crafted to provide value such as fast-release carbohydrates and essential minerals. It’s just a matter of personal preference whether a person wants to eat energy bars, use a gel, or drink their energy.
There are many different brands out there that come up with a variety of flavors. Yes, there will be a lot of brands that put out ones that taste awful, but once a person finds a solid energy option, they usually stick with it.
A great thing with energy bars is that a player can pick how much they want to eat. In some cases, a player needs the entire bar to feel like they are well nourished. Others just want a little bit of a nibble so that they have food in their stomach.
Light Comfort Food
Sometimes all it takes to feel stronger during a soccer match is to have some light comfort food. The body reacts well to foods a person is familiar with, and that’s great for those who just want something to snack on.
There’s a variety of options out there, but just stay away from anything too heavy. Whether it’s some chips, candy, crackers, or even a sandwich for that matter, the soccer players stick to their ritual and find something that works.
Is Eating and Drinking During a Match Healthy?
Ultimately, the decision as to whether or not a person eats or drinks during a match is up to them. People know their bodies and what they can handle. It’s recommended to always be drinking some fluids during the match, but eating is a lot more optional.
Drinking something should be easy, but not everyone has the stomach to eat during a match at first. It can be very tough for players not to do the bare minimum of drinking water. That’s likely to put them in a tough situation.
If an athlete doesn’t feel like their body reacts to water well, try consuming water a little bit more at room temperature or even warmer. Cold water can sometimes cause harsh reactions for the body as it’s actively warming it up.
When’s the Best Time to Eat and Drink During a Match?
Taking a break for water or a sports drink can happen whenever there’s an opportunity. Players near their own sideline can grab water quickly if there’s a slight break in the action. Squirt bottles can give players what they need in a matter of seconds.
Halftime is also a perfect opportunity to replenish during a match. It’s about the only time players in soccer have a chance to eat something. Doing so early on in the halftime allows the food to settle a bit before going back out.
Soccer is unique in that they don’t have that many natural breaks in play. There are no timeouts, so players need to be very efficient with getting fluids back into their bodies.
Final Thoughts On Food and Drink During a Soccer Match
Be responsible with eating and drinking during a match, and everything should be fine.
The only time players get themselves in trouble is if they try to eat or drink too much right before running around. It can make a player feel bloated and slow if they do not approach it the right way.
Less can be more when playing a sport and consuming something. It might not seem like much, but something small can make all the difference in the world.