How should you eat before a match?


No matter your level, whether a "Sunday player" or a professional footballer, your pre-match preparation has a direct impact on your performance. With the right food, you put all luck on your side for being in your peak shape.

How to fill up with energy before your match

The match is approaching, and you want to give it your all? With the right preparation, there will be no more secrets to a great match…

The three days leading up to the match, you can create energy reserves: your diet should be balanced, with a larger portion of complex carbohydrates such as starches (pasta, rice, semolina, potatoes, bread, etc.). Complex carbohydrates are in some sense the body's "fuel", and provide greater long term energy.

If you tend to have digestive problems during matches, avoid eating raw, fibre-rich vegetables during the three days before a match - they cause bloating.

The last meal before a match

The last meal before a match should be generous, but easily digestible. Ideally, it ends 2 to 3 hours before the match, to help you end your digestion. If your stomach isn't empty during kick-off, your muscle needs compete with the needs of your digestive tract, which can cause digestive problems that may decrease performance.

This meal should be predominantly carbohydrates (starches) so as not to dip into your precious energy reserves. Its composition depends on the time of the match:

  • If the match is in the morning, your breakfast is the last meal. It should be composed of a hot beverage, a grain product, and a fruit or compote. The ultracake is an energy cake, high in carbohydrates and especially easy to digest. It meets your needs for the last meal.
  • If the match is during the afternoon, lunch will be your last meal. It should be composed of starches (pasta or rice), lean meat (chicken), vegetable sauce (avoid fatty sauces), and a compote.
  • If the match is in the evening, the afternoon meal should have the same composition as breakfast.

Hydration remains a critical point during this last meal.

How to refill your energy during half-time

Do you play at a local, regional, or national level? You need to refill your energy reserves during half-time. Hydration and energy values are the priorities during this period. Ideally, drink as soon as possible. Feel free to leave a bottle on the edge of the pitch, if possible. During half-time, drink in regular, small mouthfuls.

Your energy should be refilled quickly. Choose an energy drink or energy gel; their liquid and semi-liquid textures allow them to act very quickly.

Marie Fauchille
Dietician | Nutritionist
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