Dairy Council Northern Ireland

Milk it for all it's worth

Food for football

Fuel for football

Eating and drinking the right things at the right time can really improve your training and matches. Like a car, your body needs fuel – you wouldn’t consider going a long car journey with no petrol so don’t think about going to training or matches without putting fuel in your engine!

What type of fuel do you need?

Just like there is petrol and diesel for cars, there are different types of food that give you different types of fuel. For football you need to put the right fuel in your engine otherwise you will be very sluggish and probably won’t last the whole game or training session. 

Carbohydrate

There are hundreds of scientific studies showing that getting enough carbohydrate can improve performance across a range of sports but especially in football, if it is eaten in the right amounts at the right times.

The science bit

Glucose, a type of carbohydrate, is the main fuel for exercising muscles and is stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver. The higher the exercise intensity, the greater amounts of glycogen will be used. When glycogen stores are low or empty your ability to make good runs, tackle well or be accurate in front of goal will be affected. Unlike our stores of fat and protein, we have only small stores of carbohydrate and keeping a good level is often difficult for athletes.

As the season progresses you will be able to store more carbohydrates but even then you probably have enough stores to do you for 50–60 minutes and most of your matches and training sessions will be much longer than that. 

How much do you need?

How much you need will depend on what weight you are. A 70kg player (11 stone) should be trying to eat or drink at least 420grammes of carbohydrates per day. To do this you need to be having meals and snacks that are based around carbohydrates – see the ideas below.
The good thing is that these foods will also give you other things that are important e.g. fruit and vegetables will give you vitamins, minerals and fibre; milk or yogurt will also give you protein and calcium; pasta, rice and potatoes can be good sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Refuelling

Immediately after training, it is recommended that carbohydrate intake to aid recovery should be approximately 1g / kg body weight.

Getting food and fluid in after training and matches will refuel the muscles and prepare them for your next training session. If you only have a short time between sessions (for example, training on both a Saturday and Sunday), then you need to really make sure that you eat / drink carbohydrates as soon as you can after training (see ‘Getting your timing right’).

It’s easy to forget about your eating habits on rest days but often these are just as important because these are your recovery days.

Sources of carbohydrates

[providing approximately 50g carbohydrates]

  • 2 medium pieces of fruit or 1 large banana
  • 60g of raisins
  • 410g tin of fruit salad
  • 150g baked beans* (small can of baked beans is 200g)
  • 1 corn on the cob or small tin of sweet corn
  • 1 bowl of homemade vegetable soup
  • 1 medium baked potato
  • 1 round of sandwiches (meat/chicken/fish/cheese/egg*)
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 bagel with spoon of honey/jam/peanut butter*
  • 60g breakfast cereal with 150mls of low–fat milk*
  • 2 medium pancakes
  • ½ pint of flavoured milkshake* or smoothie
  • 300mls of drinking yogurt *
  • 250g of rice pudding* (Pots contain approximately 40g)
  • 1 ice lolly (solero, starburst, twister)
  • ½ pint of dilute squash
  • ½ pint of pure fruit juice
  • 700mls of sports drink

March 26

RT @MariaJenningsNI: We have published important guidance for food businesses please…

Read Tweet

March 24

RT @NIfoodanddrink: @daera_ni @UFUHQ @retail_ni @MichaelAodhan @nifpo @DairyCouncilNI…

Read Tweet

March 24

RT @daera_ni: NI’s agri-food and drink sector is critical–BIG thank you to farmer…

Read Tweet

March 22

RT @BelfastTrust: Now is the time to stay at home. Our respiratory team have a clear…

Read Tweet

March 18

RT @daera_ni: DAERA Minister Edwin Poots @poots2edwin has urged consumers to buy resp…

Read Tweet

March 18

"Dairy sector needs to keep operating" - media release on our website https://t.co/tn…

Read Tweet

March 18

RT @marshall_paula: Saw this today @meaapni @MEACommNav a great idea for older people…

Read Tweet

March 16

RT @mlchealth: CV: when the health trusts are ringing patients for phone consultation…

Read Tweet

March 13

Thanks Laura, we certainly hope to reschedule for the autumn. We'll keep everyone pos…

Read Tweet

March 13

We are sorry that due to the Covid-19 outbreak, our conference has been CANCELLED. We…

Read Tweet

March 10

RT @WoodsideJayne: Delighted that the GENIUS School Food Network is up and running @G…

Read Tweet

March 07

Katarina Johnson-Thompson meets Mary Peters: 'I want to have a 47-year celebration of…

Read Tweet

March 05

RT @AthleticsNI: Big Boost for Local Sports as Dale Farm Protein Milk Announces Wides…

Read Tweet

March 04

Dairy Council NI Annual Nutrition and Health Conference coming soon – 8th April. Gr…

Read Tweet

March 02

Very much looking forward to welcoming you to Belfast Alan and hearing more about the…

Read Tweet

From the farm to the fridge, the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland acts on behalf of the dairy industry, advertising and promoting the natural goodness and quality of Northern Ireland milk and dairy products.

Our primary function is to communicate factual information to allow individuals to make well informed choices about dairy products that they consume and to inform them of the benefits of including dairy products in a balanced diet. We use a wide range of media, which includes television, radio, press, magazine, posters and the internet. Our Advertising is complemented by public relations and promotional activities designed to communicate with specific groups.

Home delivery

Contact your nearest dairy to arrange delivery

Ballyrashane Creamery

T+44 (0)28 7034 3265

This site uses cookies for general analytics but not for advertising purposes. View our privacy policy to find out more. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on our website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time.