Pre-Post Match Nutrition

Helping you perform better

Helpful Guide to Player Nutrition

Eating correctly supports both physical and mental health, helping your levels of fitness, concentration and focus when competing.

Poor nutrition can have an adverse effect on performance, so it’s vitally important you fuel your body with the right amount of fluid and nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats to reach your full potential when competing.

A nutritional diet can aid recovery post training, matches and when injured.  

Remember as levels of physical activity increase so does the demand for food and fluid.

As an individual it’s important you understand your own dietary requirements as they can differ from individual to individual, see what works for you in terms of a balanced diet and always seek medical advice if concerned about any conditions relating to your general health.

Good practice is to eat and drink regularly throughout the day to make sure your fully nourished to provide you with good energy levels.

Tips & Guides

Nutrition and Diet is specific to the individual. Please use this information as a guide and  references only. If you have any intolerances or digestive issues you should contact your GP and discuss any worrying condition.

Day Before Match


  • 2 slices of wholegrain / rye bread with baked beans
    / scrambled eggs and grilled tomato / mushrooms
  • Smoked salmon on granary bread spread with avocado or low-fat cream cheese
  • Porridge made with semi-skimmed milk with honey & walnuts & dried apricots



  • Low-fat yogurt (probiotic or Greek)
  • Handful of brazil nuts & berries
    2 kiwis / an orange / an apple


  • Large lentil & vegetable soup with slice of whole wheat bread.
  • Wholegrain sandwich with ham / chicken / tuna & salad
  • Large baked sweet potato with mild extra lean chilli / tuna / baked beans
  • Whole-wheat cous cous / quinoa / whole-wheat pasta with grilled chicken & salad



  • Handful of hazelnuts & berries with low-fat yogurt
  • 1 slice of whole-wheat pitta bread topped with tuna / chicken / ham & salad
  • 1 slice of wholegrain bread topped with peanut butter & green tipped banana



  • Turkey / extra lean beef burgers, oven baked sweet potato with a side salad / steamed vegetables
  • Extra lean mince & whole-wheat spaghetti bolognaise
  • Chicken pesto whole-wheat pasta
  • Salmon with quinoa / whole wheat cous cous & steamed vegetables
  • Cod & oven baked sweet potato chips with a side salad
  • Extra lean chilli con carne with brown basmati rice



  • 3 whole-wheat oatcakes spread with cottage cheese & cucumber / tomatoes
  • Hummus with carrots / cucumber
  • Green tipped banana with natural yoghurt & almonds

Match Day 11pm Kick Off

Pay attention to your food intake depending upon your kick off time. If the guide is followed correctly your muscles will be full of energy and ready to play to your maximum level. Today foods (pre-match) should contain slow releasing carbohydrates. These will ensure your muscles have the maximum amount of fuel available throughout your match.

Post-match nutrition directly after the game is important to restore the energy that was used during the match. Fast-releasing carbohydrates and protein will help kick start your recovery by quickly restoring the glycogen levels in your muscles. It is also important that you replenish vital nutrients and rehydrate with fluids and electrolytes.

  • Breakfast 7-8:00am
  • Snack (pre-match) 9:30am
  • Lunch (post-match meal) 1pm-2:30pm
  • Afternoon Snack 4pm-5:00pm
  • Dinner 7pm-8:00pm
  • Evening Snack 9:00pm


  • Porridge with semi-skimmed milk & honey
  • Scrambled / poached eggs / soft boiled egg with rye / whole-wheat toast
  • Baked beans / venison sausages with wholegrain toast
  • 2 slices of whole-wheat toast with green tipped banana and peanut butter



  • Low fat yogurt
  • Tangerines / Green tipped banana
  • Rice cake with peanut butter



Jaffa cakes / small pack of jelly sweets (e.g. jelly babies) & plenty fluids



  • Extra lean minced beef shepherds pie made with white potatoes
  • White pasta with pesto &chicken
  • Turkey steak & cous cous with salad
  • Baguette / baked potato filled with chicken / tuna / prawns / baked beans & salad



  • Fruit and fibre cereal with milk
  • Baked beans on whole wheat toast
  • Low-fat yogurt, banana & dried apricots



  • Chicken / lentil soup with wholegrain bread
  • Whole-wheat sandwich with chicken / smoked salmon & low fat cream cheese & salad
  • Sweet potato with baked beans / tuna / extra lean chilli
  • Salmon/ turkey, avocado, brown rice salad



  • Whole grain bread with peanut butter & green tipped banana
  • Whole-wheat oatcakes & cottage cheese / humous
  • Oatabix / Weetabix with semi skimmed milk & almonds

Match Day 3pm Kick Off

  • Breakfast 8:30am
  • Lunch (pre-match meal) 11am-12pm
  • Snack (pre-match) 1pm-1:30pm
  • Snack (post-match) 5:00pm
  • Dinner (post-match) 6:00pm
  • Evening Snack 9:00pm


  • Porridge with milk & dried apricots
  • All Bran / Fruit and Fibre with milk
  • Scrambled eggs with wholegrain toast
  • Wholegrain toast with peanut butter / honey



  • Large chicken / tuna / egg sandwich on whole-wheat / gluten free bread
  • Large baked sweet potato with baked beans / tuna
  • Quinoa salad with chicken or salmon



  • Low fat yogurt
  • Tangerines / Green tipped banana
  • Rice cake with peanut butter



  • Jaffa cakes / small pack of jelly sweets (e.g. jelly babies) & plenty fluids



  • Jaffa Cakes & semi-skimmed milk
  • Small bagel with peanut butter & semi-skimmed milk
  • Rice crispies cereal bar & semi-skimmed milk
  • Large chocolate milk shake



  • Mexican fajitas with whole-wheat wraps
  • Prawn stir fry with wholegrain basmati rice / rice noodles
  • Extra lean beef meatballs with whole-wheat spaghetti
  • Haddock / turkey steak & selection of steamed vegetables



  • Whole grain bread with peanut butter & green tipped banana
  • Whole-wheat oatcakes & cottage cheese / humous
  • Weetabix with semi skimmed milk & almonds

Day After Match - Recovery

  • Large Breakfast
  • Small Morning Snack
  • Large Lunch
  • Small Afternoon Snack
  • Light Dinner
  • Small Evening Snack

The aim for the day after the match is to get your body back to full health and fitness! The key to recovery and repair is high levels of protein and antioxidants. So today, like every day, you should aim to have at least 5 portions of vegetables/salads and 1-2 portions of fruit. Breakfast however should be high in protein to kick-start the recovery process for the day!


  • Wholegrain / rye bread with smashed avocado poached / soft boiled egg with venison sausages
  • Porridge, semi-skimmed milk with honey, nuts & berries
  • Ham, mushroom & spinach omelette with slice of wholegrain toast
  • Grilled tomato with smoked salmon & scrambled egg on wholegrain pitta bread



  • Small green tipped banana & peanut butter
  • Large slice of mango/ plum and low-fat organic yogurt
  • Dried fruit and nut mix



  • Vegetable packed extra lean beef lasagne
  • Tuna, whole-wheat pasta bake with peppers and sweet corn
  • Whole-wheat, vegetable packed spaghetti with extra lean beef bolognese
  • Venison sausages with sweet potato mash & asparagus / selection of steamed vegetables
  • Salmon with oven baked sweet potato chips & selection of steamed vegetables
  • Sea bass with quinoa and broccoli / selection of steamed vegetables
  • Lean turkey mince, brown rice & copped vegetables stuffed in peppers



  • Brazil nuts & pumpkins seeds mix
  • Kiwi / berries & a probiotic yogurt
  • Apple and peanut butter
  • Oat cakes with cottage cheese



  • Tuna / chicken pasta salad
  • Vegetable soup with a slice of whole-wheat toast
  • Mixed bean & turkey / smoked mackerel salad in a slice of whole-wheat pitta bread
  • Chicken & avocado quinoa salad



  • Slice of whole-wheat toast spread with cottage cheese
  • Fruit and fibre / All Bran cereal with semi skimmed milk

General Guide

Don’t Skip Breakfast

Breakfast recharges your brain and body for the day, helping you to become more efficient in just about everything you do. It improves your decision making, alertness and memory, keeping you at the top of your game both at school/work and football. If you are training, playing a match or are just out exercising it will provide your muscles with the energy required for the activity!

Breakfast skippers, on the other hand, are generally more irritable, moody and tire very easily. If you skip breakfast there may be more than 12 hrs between your evening snack and first meal of the day. Your muscles need glycogen for energy and will be depleted if you haven’t eaten anything.

Without breakfast you are effectively running on empty, like trying to start the car with no petrol. Breakfast is essential to refuel your energy levels in your muscles every day.

Be Prepared – Know Your Day

When playing away matches it does not mean that you cannot continue to eat right. While fast food provides cheap and quick food it is unlikely that it will provide a suitable choice or any nutritional value for your body so stay clear of these and instead be prepared for your day! Make sure you have a clear understanding of what your day requires and have a think about whether your pre and post match meal and snack will be easily available. If not, prepare what you need for the day ahead (e.g. low-fat yogurts, bananas, wholegrain sandwiches, milkshakes, water etc) so that you provide your body with the correct fuel for both activity and recovery.

Make Better Food Choices

We are surrounded by unhealthy foods especially at lunch times when we are free to wonder to the local fast food shops and supermarkets but this is the time where it is very important to make better food choices on your own. Food shops all make the products look attractive, easily available and if everyone else is eating them it can be easy to make poor food choices.

If you are buying your food at lunchtime try avoid any outside temptations and use your new nutritional knowledge to choose healthier options. (Refer to day 1, 2 and 3 for suggestions on healthy lunches and snacks).

You should now be aware of some of the short and long term benefits for your health and football performance, respectively.

Stay Hydrated

There may be occasions when you’re feeling hungry right after you have eaten but really what is happening is that you’re actually thirsty. Confusing hunger with thirst is very common as the symptoms of dehydration are the same of those of hunger! If you have eaten the right amount of food and are still getting cravings to eat, try drinking some fluid to see if that helps reduce the feelings of hunger.

Remember, if you are thirsty it is already too late!

Thirst is your body’s alarm to say you are dehydrated so drink regularly and stay ahead of the game!