Amy Dirks on Nutrition Tips For Players Preparing For Competition
Nutrition information for soccer players from Amy Dirks. Discover what makes this column so different: Read Meet SoccerToday’s Nutritionist Amy Dirks – Great Info for Soccer Players of All Ages
Soccer players of all ages are always looking for nutrition and hydration advice plus valuable tips on what to eat and drink for peak performance. Here is Amy Dirks’ latest column on how to enhance your performance by properly hydrating.
BEFORE A SOCCER TOURNAMENT:
Time and time again, you hear the statement “it’s so difficult to eat healthy when traveling.”
Although I would agree with this to some extent, I also know it’s partly an excuse and a lack of preparation.
Being away from your normal environment, such as your home kitchen and training facility, and staying in an unfamiliar city in a hotel room without knowing what restaurants and grocery stores are around can certainly deter you from making the best choices.
Athletes and their parents/care-takers if younger can improve this process by taking a few extra steps to prepare.
To Perform at your Best, it is always important to PLAN!
I always say “a failure to plan is a plan to fail” and it’s so true in many aspects of your life.
Think ahead and ask yourself these simple questions — After asking yourself these questions, you can begin to formulate a plan for your travel.
- How long is the flight or car ride and will I need to bring snacks so I’m not tempted to by the junk in airports?
- Will my hotel room have a mini fridge and microwave in the room?
- Will there be any meals eaten together as a team and provided for me?
- What city are we staying in and what grocery stores or restaurants are around the hotel?
Soccer Players & Parents, Check your Resources!
Gather the necessary resources to keep you fueled and on track. Pack a snack bag for the flight.
Items that can be included are:
- Beef/Turkey Jerky or Epic Bars
- Rx Bars, Lara Bars, Kind Bars,
- Nuts, Seeds, and Trail Mixes
- Dried fruit, freeze-dried fruit such as apple chips
- Almond butter/coconut butter individual packets
- Justin’s Almond Butter w/ dried bananas or pretzels
- Fresh fruit (apples, oranges, bananas)
- Single serving guacamole or hummus
- Applesauce packets/Smoothie packets
- Roasted chickpeas
- Fruit leathers
- Popcorn (made with coconut oil and sea salt)
- Pre-made smoothies/juices with no added sugar
- Veggie sticks (carrots)
- Ready to make oatmeal (just ask for hot water at a coffee shop)
One of the Best Tips: Hydrate
One of the simplest and cheapest ways an athlete can enhance performance is to properly hydrate… and, water should always be the first choice.
Bring a stainless steel water bottle with you so that you can refill whenever possible. Anyone can choke down a couple of glasses of water every so often in the name of feeling better and playing better.
If traveling by car, bring a cooler to keep in the car and possibly a thermos to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
Drinking two glasses of water upon waking (we tend to dehydrate while we travel), and then drinking 1-2 glasses every 2 hours should be enough to keep you hydrated.
At The Hotel:
If your hotel has a mini fridge and microwave, you can stop by a local grocery store and stock it with yogurt, fruit, boiled eggs, and store any leftovers from meals.
Oatmeal packets are a quick and easy breakfast that can be made in your room. Throw some trail mix on top and you’ve got some healthy fats and protein as well.
Before you Travel to Your Soccer Tournament
Once you’ve done your research and gathered the necessary resources, execute your plan.
“You can’t compete with what you eat!”
More than likely, doing so will save you money, time, and your body will perform better and recover faster after being nourished with healthier options rather than flying by the seat of your pants and grabbing fast food in a pinch.
Also, have a recovery plan if your team doesn’t already have one in place. Bring a ready-to-drink protein drink or a smoothie packet that can replenish your glycogen provide protein for muscle repair within 30 minutes of performing.
Experience is Key
Each time you travel, you will get better and better at planning and preparing for what’s to come.
But, you have to start! Remember, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Remember, a failure to plan is a plan to fail!Amy Dirks