Pre-game Nutrition: Foods to Eat Before Soccer Game

Updated on 
February 4, 2022

I was thinking about writing pre-game nutrition for a very long time.

The fact is, that I always struggled with what to eat before a soccer game for optimal performance. You're not alone!

It's so hard right? Especially nowadays, when you have an unlimited number of options to choose from.

But I have good news for you. If you have no idea what to eat before a soccer game for optimal performance, I got your back!

Let's jump right into it!

Best foods to eat before a soccer game in the afternoon

Now, since most of us are playing at different times, I have added two sections: for games in the afternoon and evening.

So what to eat before the soccer game in the afternoon?

One of the most recommended meals to eat before a soccer game in the afternoon is rice with the light volume of chicken and green vegetables. Rice is a very good source of carbs, which makes it such a great meal before a soccer game in the afternoon. Another great meal is chicken soup.

In addition to that, oats, pasta, and spaghetti are amazing sources of carbs as well!

I also created a new article about what to eat before a soccer game in the afternoon - check it out!

I recall that when we used to play in the afternoon, we always had rice with meat as the main meal before the soccer game. It's actually kinda funny because every time I played somewhere else, they have used to the same food every single time!

Of course, make sure you leave a time window big enough for digestion. Allow at least 3 hours after eating the main dish.

Here are the best things to eat before a soccer game, depending on how tight your time schedule is:

3 Hours till the game

If you have more than 3 hours before a soccer game in the evening, I highly recommend you to eat light portion of rice and chicken meat. Make sure to adds some green vegetables as well.

Do not forget about hydration before the game too!

2 Hours till the game

If you have only two hours, a heavy meal is not really recommended.

Maybe you could potentially slide in some pasta, but a very small portion.

Also, a chicken soup could be a good option, but I wouldn't recommend anything heavy at this point.

1 Hour till the game

At this point, you're probably in your locker room so you probably won't eat anything heavy.

Here are some great options to eat 1-hour before the game:

30 Minutes till the game

What to eat before a soccer game in the evening?

In case your game starts in the evening, then you have probably a whole day of eating behind you!

It's important that you really think about all the foods you eat - and that includes breakfast as well!

You need to fuel your muscles with loads of carbs! And let me tell you.. If there's one thing you should take from this article, it's the importance of carbs for soccer players.

Now that I've put carbohydrates in the spotlight, let me give you the answers!

So what to eat before a soccer game in the evening?

It's best to eat carb-rich foods before a soccer game that is being played in the evening. While there is a certain healthy standard for eating healthy, it's essential that you fuel your muscles with carbohydrates and important minerals and vitamins, that are needed for optimal performance in the game.

And what are some of the carb-rich foods you're asking?

  • Rice with chicken
  • Oatmeal
  • Pasta
  • Spaghetti

These are just a few.

Tight on time? Here's what to eat 2 hours before a soccer game.

In case you have 2 hours left before the whistle, here are the foods I recommend you to eat:

  • Light amount of pasta
  • Chicken soup
  • Protein shake
  • Banana
  • Oatmeals

Essentially, you want to eat foods that are not heavy on the stomach so they are able to digest fast. Trust me, you don't want to run around on the field with a full stomach.

Also once again, it's essential that you eat stuff that will fuel your muscles with carbohydrates.

Your ideal breakfast before a soccer game

An ideal breakfast before a soccer game is oatmeal with sliced banana and raisins. This breakfast should give you the optimal amount of energy that you will need for playing a full soccer match. If you have the match in the morning - it's recommended that you eat no later than 2-3 hours before the game.

I understand it can be hard sometimes to plan your breakfast, especially if you are playing in the morning.

Try to avoid fatty foods like eggs and bacon. These are not really optimal on a game day.

What not to eat before a soccer game?

There are certain foods, that you want to avoid as a soccer player before a soccer game:

  • Fatty foods (bacon)
  • Fried foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Sugar foods & candy
  • Fast foods (cheeseburger, fries etc..)

If you want to prepare for the game as best as you can, you want to avoid these.

An optimal diet is a must if you want to have an edge over your competition. Eating some of the foods from the list above might result in feeling like crap, fatigued, and low levels of energy.

Optimize your diet with enough minerals, vitamins, and carbs instead, so your body can perform.

Suggestion: If you want to learn more about foods that soccer players should avoid, check this guide.

Wrapping it up

So as you can see, there are many foods that you can eat before a soccer game.

If there are one or two things that you take away from this article, it's the importance of carbs in your dishes and the time window before the game when you don't eat.

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Tom Lindeman
Ball Athlete project
Hey! My name is Tom and I created this blog in order to help people wherever they are in their sport journey. Inspirational posts, guides, reviews and much more! Read about the project here.
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