Being a football player – how do you sort out nutrition on match day for the best performance?

Today we have another guest blog post by Jessie Schmidt, a sports nutrition practitioner and the owner of She is offering an online course on practical sports nutrition ( We have a promo code for you. You can use DEEPSPORTS10 at time of checkout. Jessie is talking about the basics of sports nutrition in her first blog post on Deepsports.

It’s match day and of course you want to be in the best shape possible. Certainly focused physical and mental training are preparing you very well. But what about food? What should you eat before the match? And how can you ensure to regenerate as well as possible? I will answer those questions for you within the next lines. 

The evening before match day (aka match day-1)

90 minutes intense movement is quite a challenge for your body and you need enough energy to run across the pitch for the entire match. Therefore you do need carbohydrates. In order to refuel your battery, the game already starts the evening before the match. You should fill up on complex carbohydrates. Try to avoid rice on that evening, as it has a draining effect.

Possible dishes: Pasta with veggie bolognese or lentil dal with potatoes.  

Breakfast on match day

There is one rule you definitely should follow: Never skip breakfast on match day. It is the start of your day and will set you and your body up for the upcoming intensity. Your breakfast should consist of a combination of complex carbohydrates and high-quality protein. The golden rule is that your breakfast is NOT very fatty or deep fried. So make sure that it is light and not heavy in the stomach. 

Possible dishes: Overnight oats with banana or muesli with yoghurt and fresh fruits. 

Lunch on match day

The rule for your breakfast is the same for lunch. Make sure it is light and provides you with energy. 

Possible dishes: Pasta with tomato sauce or vegetable soups

Snacks before and during the match

If you want you can have some fresh fruits an hour before the match. Directly before the game, you should avoid eating anything to be able to go all in on the football field. You can drink a glass of still water 10 minutes before the match starts. That increases your fluid reserve as well as your energy out of carbohydrates, amino acids and sodium. During the halftime break, you should rather drink something than eating. Besides water, isotonic drinks are also a good option or apple juice with water in order to fill up your carbohydrate stores.

Food after the match

Coming back from the match, still super excited, food is probably not the first thing which comes to your mind. However in order to refill your carbohydrate stores you should eat something after 2-3 hours. Combine carbohydrates with protein. 

Possible dishes: Pasta with Lentil Bolognese, Spelt Pizza Verdura

Don’t forget to drink 

Not only the right food is important for your performance, the right drinks play a role as well. Certainly water is always the best choice. However, during and after the match it makes sense to add some salt to the water to replenish the sodium stores, especially if you sweat a lot. Water with a pinch of apple juice is also a good option in order to refill your carbohydrate stores. 

Tip: Weigh yourself before your training or match and afterwards. The difference is the loss of fluid, provided you have not eaten or drunk anything during the exercise.