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10 Dinner Ideas For Football | Meals High In Protein

10 dinner ideas for football | high-protein meals

Dinner is one of the three main meals of the day that are of high importance for football performance and recovery. Dinner is usually placed after a strenuous training session, workout, or match. Therefore, its contents need to be appropriate for recovery. 

During that dinner time, you should be looking to replenish nutrients that you’ve lost to aid the recovery process. We also couldn’t forget to mention the importance of a pre-match-day dinner, where the footballer can utilize various complex carbohydrate sources to “fuel” the performance of “tomorrow”. 

WHAT SHOULD A FOOTBALLER EAT FOR DINNER?

Dinner is a meal that is greatly dependent on contextual information. If an exercise or game is followed by dinner, then the aim is to replenish depleted glycogen stores, through a variety of carbohydrates, both simple and complex ones. Protein should also be kept high to aid muscle growth and reconstruction (recovery). Vitamins and minerals also get depleted during exercise. Therefore, including a good portion of vegetables and/or fruit can get you covered.

If we’re talking about dinner the day before a match, then you, the football player, should try and “load” your glycogen stores through primarily complex aka slow-releasing sources of carbohydrates.

Here’s a list of 10 dinner ideas that will get you going

  • Spaghetti Bolognese
  • Chicken Omelette Wrap
  • Lentil Soup
  • Chicken with Mixed Rice
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Lean Beef
  • Recovery Smoothie
  • Chicken Noodles
  • Baked Salmon with Mixed Rice
  • Greek Yoghurt Protein Bowl
  • Green Salad with Quinoa and Chicken

BREAKING DOWN EACH DINNER IDEA FOR FOOTBALL

Spaghetti Bolognese

Ingredients

  • Spaghetti (100gr)
  • Ground Beef (100gr)
    Tomato (1 Medium)
  • Onion (½)
  • Curry Powder (2 tsp.)

Kcal – 592, Protein – 36gr, Carbohydrates – 86gr, Fats – 12gr, Fiber – 7gr

Chicken Omellete Wrap

Ingredients

  • Chicken Breast (50gr)
  • Eggs (3)
  • Bell Peppers (2)
  • Chopped Mushrooms (2)
  • (Whole Wheat) Tortilla (2)
  • Baked Potatoes (2 Medium)

Kcal – 657, Protein – 43gr, Carbohydrates – 79gr, Fats – 21gr, Fiber – 6gr

Lentil Soup

Ingredients

  • Lentils (100gr)
  • Carrots (2)
  • Bell Peppers (2)
  • Onion (½)
  • Tomato Salsa
  • (Whole Wheat) Bread (2 Slices)

Kcal – 468, Protein – 30gr, Carbohydrates – 74gr, Fats – 4gr, Fiber – 4gr

Chicken with Mixed Rice

Ingredients

  • Chicken Breast (100gr)
  • Mixed Rice (1 Cup)
  • Chopped Mushrooms (3 Pieces)
  • Alfredo Sauce (50ml)

Kcal – 480, Protein – 30gr, Carbohydrates – 64gr, Fats – 10gr, Fiber – 2gr

Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Lean Beef

Ingredients

  • (Sweet) Potatoes (2 Medium)
  • Lean Beef (150gr)
  • Mixed Vegetables (Handful)

Kcal – 448, Protein – 37gr, Carbohydrates – 52gr, Fats – 11gr, Fiber – 4gr

Recovery Smoothie

Ingredients

  • (Skim/Chocolate/Soy) Milk (250ml)
  • Whey Protein (1 ½ Scoop)
  • Banana (1 Medium)
  • Mixed Berries (Handful)
  • Oats (50gr)
  • Spinach Leaves (Handful)
  • Chia Seeds (1tbsp.)

Kcal – 694, Protein – 51gr, Carbohydrates – 100gr, Fats – 12gr, Fiber – 18gr

Chicken Noodles

Ingredients

  • Noodles (100gr)
  • Chicken (150gr)
  • Mixed Vegetables (Handful)
  • Preferred Seasoning 

Kcal – 532, Protein – 43gr, Carbohydrates – 84gr, Fats – 5gr, Fiber – 4gr

Baked Salmon with Mixed Rice

Ingredients

  • Mixed Rice (70gr)
  • Salmon (½ Fillet)
  • Mixed Vegetables (Handful)

Kcal – 380, Protein – 23gr, Carbohydrates – 58gr, Fats – 8gr, Fiber – 2gr

Greek Yoghurt Protein Bowl

Ingredients

  • Low-Fat Greek Yoghurt (250gr)
  • Granola (50gr)
  • Whey Protein (½)
  • Banana (1 Medium)
  • Mixed Berries (Handful)
  • Chia Seeds (1tbsp.)

Kcal – 548, Protein – 40gr, Carbohydrates – 91gr, Fats – 14gr, Fiber – 26gr

Green Salad with Quinoa and Chicken

Ingredients

  • Quinoa (1 Cup)
  • Chicken Breast (100gr)
  • Leafy Greens (Mixed – 3 Handfuls)
  • Chia Seeds (1 tbsp.)
  • Salt & Vinegar

Kcal – 378, Protein – 30gr, Carbohydrates – 40gr, Fats – 6gr, Fiber – 5gr

POST-GAME/TRAINING DINNER

Just like we said at the beginning of this article, you most probably have your dinner as your last meal, after a strenuous day of training or competition. If that is the case for you, then you need to properly structure your dinner to cover your recovery needs.

THE 3 “REs” OF POST-GAME MEALS!

A typical dinner after a training session or match aims to replenish what your body lost during exercise and increase the intake of nutrients that can speed up the recovery window.

Therefore, we would be looking to a) replenish your depleted glycogen stores through a high intake of carbohydrates (any type is welcome), and b) “fill up” on protein, a nutrient that plays a primary role in the muscle-building and reconstruction process.

Your body has also lost many electrolytes which we can replenish as well with foods that are high in vitamins and minerals, such as fruit and vegetables. Those last two can also serve you with various antioxidants which can further help the recovery process.

So, to sum it all up, your post-training/game dinner plate should include:

  1. Moderate to Big Portion of Carbohydrates
  2. Big Portion of (Lean) Protein
  3. A Handful of Fruits and Vegetables
  4. Small Portion of Healthy Fats (Cooked with or Eaten)

DINNER BEFORE GAME-DAY

Having said all of that, we must also acknowledge the fact that dinner isn’t always consumed with an emphasis on football recovery. Moreover, it should also emphasize next-day performance, especially the night before a match.

If you have already read our carb-loading article, you would know that the dinner before game-day is a great chance for you to load your glycogen stores with some slow-digesting carbohydrates aka complex ones.

The idea is to increase your carbohydrate intake, primarily through complex sources of carbs, to fill up your body’s primary energy reserves, which is muscle glycogen.

This is a fantastic method any player can utilize, especially those who struggle with game-day nutrition and have a hard time eating enough.

Here’s your pre-gameday dinner checklist:

  1. Big Portion of Complex/Mixed Carbohydrates
  2. Moderate Portion of Protein
  3. Easy to Digest Vegetables
  4. Fruit for Extra Carbohydrates 

THE SUM UP

Every meal of the day is important for football and so is dinner! What you need to do is recognize the objective of each meal you have and adjust it to the standards of that goal. If your goal is to recover, the emphasis should be put on protein. If the goal is performance you might want to slightly increase your carbohydrate intake.

Regardless of the meals we are suggesting, you are the one responsible for the “success or failure” of your nutrition. If you fail to adjust to your goals your performance will take a hit. Sometimes that hit is going to be big and sometimes small. Do your best to optimize your nutrition every single day and trust me, your performance and career will benefit.

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