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Soccer & Nutrition for Kids

What you put into your body has a direct impact on what you can get out of it. Good soccer nutrition habits have a positive impact on your game, whether you're a recreational player or aspiring to an elite level.

Your body is a water-based organism and must be fully hydrated for top performance. Strenuous exercise such as soccer causes your body to sweat and use electrolytes, which should be replenished with regular consumption of water or a sports drink before, during and after games. A hydrated player fatigues less, and a dehydrated player is at risk of fatigue and heat-induced illness.

What to Eat
Soccer is a strenuous game that requires your body to produce bursts of energy consistently over an extended period. As such, it's important good food is available as fuel. Pasta, rice, potato, chicken, fish and wholemeal bread all provide good carbohydrates and an energy store to last the full game.

When to Eat Before
The body needs enough time to convert food into energy. Running onto the field with a full stomach won't work. Because of all the running that's involved in soccer, it's suggested that you eat a meal three to 3 1/2 hours before a game or practice.

When to Eat After
A meal high in carbohydrates and protein is essential after a game or practice; your body's energy stores are depleted and should be replenished. Protein also aids in muscle repair and development.

What to Avoid
Sugary foods cause quick energy, then a crash that hurts performance, especially later in the game as the body fatigues. Soda dehydrates the body and causes dehydration during sports.