In Part 1 of Food for Kicks, we looked at 2 critical aspects of a footballer’s diet that need attention. Here, we’ll examine 3 more tips that will be useful in preparing a holistic and comprehensive nutrition plan for our Pune FC footballers. Here we go…
1.Whole fruit over juices
That’s because juicing a fruit robs you of its natural fibre, beneficial compounds and antioxidants. A fruit’s fibrous content is essential for the kids because it slows the absorption of the fruit’s sugar, has several digestive benefits, and keeps the glycemic index low. A fruit’s glycemic index is basically a measure of how quickly carbohydrate content in a food increases blood sugar. Moreover, juices are fairly heavy on calories. So if you’ve got a choice, always go with a whole banana, apple or orange – not the juice!
2.Never forget the bottle
Just as a car needs coolant, water acts a cooling system for our bodies. Football is an all-action, intensely physical sport. And in Indian weather, the kids are always likely to sweat a lot in relatively warm conditions. While water is good enough most of the time (at least 1 litre during training), it is a good idea to supplement water with sports drinks that will help the children replenish their levels of sodium and minerals during practice in the summer. It is also important for the players to stay well hydrated before and after training. Drinking 3-4 litres of water, especially on training days, is absolutely necessary.
3.Pump in the proteins
Protein is a critical ingredient of a young athlete’s diet because it aids growth, brain development and bone health. Our budding Pune FC footballers need to get 10 essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein) in their food. These are found in plant and animal protein. Good sources of plant protein include pulses (moong, chana), lentils (dals), beans, soya and tofu. In addition, animal protein can be found in cheese, yogurt (dahi), milk, eggs and chicken. The best time for the players to consume these proteins is immediately after their workout.
As coaches, we are always doing our best to help kids fulfil their potential on the pitch. However, we depend on parental support to ensure that our players are being provided with the right nutrition to perform at their best. Because together, we can achieve great things!