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10 Lunch Ideas For Football | Meals High In Carbohydrates

10 lunch ideas for football | meals high in carbohydrates

Lunch is a meal that footballers usually consume before a training session or a match, as most football events tend to be scheduled around that midday time. Therefore, it is important to include foods in that meal that are going to “fuel” your performance later on.

WHAT SHOULD A FOOTBALLER EAT FOR LUNCH?

Given that your lunch is placed as your last meal before your football training session/match, you should aim for a meal that is high in carbohydrates, primarily simple ones. The protein content of your meal should ideally consist of lean sources of protein. Fats should be limited. As far as vitamins and minerals are concerned, food selection should and must be done with care to prevent any stomach discomfort, such as bloating, that foods high in fiber may cause.

Here’s a list of 10 lunch ideas for footballers that serve the characteristics of the plate we just analyzed.

  • White Rice with Chicken Breast and Asparagus
  • (Sweet) Potatoes and Mixed-Veggie Omelette
  • Tuna Pasta with Salsa
  • Tomato Soup with (Whole Wheat) Bread
  • Baked Potato with Cottage Cheese and Salsa
  • Beet Smoothie
  • Pasta with Tomatoes and Mushrooms
  • White Rice and Baked Salmon
  • Chicken Tortilla with Baked (Sweet) Potatoes
  • Proatmeal with Fruit and Honey

BREAKING DOWN EACH LUNCH IDEA FOR FOOTBALL

White Rice with Chicken Breast and Asparagus

Ingredients

  • White Rice (70gr)
  • Chicken Breast (1 Piece ~ 100gr)
  • Asparagus (4-6 Pieces)

Kcal – 364, Protein – 33gr, Carbohydrates – 56gr, Fats – 2gr, Fiber – 2gr

(Sweet) Potatoes and Mixed-Veggie Omelette

Ingredients

  • (Sweet) Potatoes (2)
  • Eggs (3)
  • Bell Peppers (2)
  • Chopped Mushrooms (2)

Kcal – 515, Protein – 25gr, Carbohydrates – 67gr, Fats – 15gr, Fiber – 5gr

Tuna Pasta with Salsa

Ingredients

  • Spaghetti (100gr)
  • Canned Tuna (70gr)
  • Tomato Salsa (30-40ml)

Kcal – 326, Protein – 25gr, Carbohydrates – 44gr, Fats – 1gr, Fiber – 4gr

Tomato Soup with (Whole Wheat) Bread

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes (4-6)
  • Onion (½)
  • (Whole Wheat) Bread (2 Slices)

Kcal – 310, Protein – 15gr, Carbohydrates – 63gr, Fats – 4gr, Fiber – 14gr

Baked Potato with Cottage Cheese and Salsa

Ingredients

  • Potatoes (2)
  • Cottage Cheese (100gr)
  • Tomato Salsa (30-40ml)

Kcal – 280, Protein – 19gr, Carbohydrates – 50gr, Fats – 2gr, Fiber – 5gr

Beet Smoothie

Ingredients

  • Water (200ml)
  • Orange (1)
  • Banana (1 Medium)
  • Beets (2 Medium)
  • Organic Honey (2 tbsp.)
  • Walnuts (30gr)

Kcal – 516, Protein – 8gr, Carbohydrates – 84gr, Fats – 20gr, Fiber – 10gr

Pasta with Tomatoes and Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • Spaghetti (150gr)
  • Tomato Salsa (30-40ml)
  • Chopped Mushrooms (3-4)

Kcal – 375, Protein – 15gr, Carbohydrates – 62gr, Fats – 2gr, Fiber – 6gr

White Rice and Baked Salmon

Ingredients

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

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

Chicken Tortilla with Baked (Sweet) Potatoes

Ingredients

  • Chicken Breast (1 Piece ~ 100gr)
  • (Whole Wheat) Tortilla (1)
  • (Sweet) Potato (1)

Kcal – 283, Protein – 19gr, Carbohydrates – 43gr, Fats – 5gr, Fiber – 5gr

Proatmeal with Fruit and Honey

Ingredients

  • Whey Protein Powder (1 Scoop)
  • Oats (80gr)
  • Banana (1 Medium)
  • Organic Honey (1tbsp.)
  • Walnuts (30gr)

Kcal – 665, Protein – 33gr, Carbohydrates – 98gr, Fats – 18gr, Fiber – 11gr

PRE-GAME/TRAINING LUNCH

As we have already mentioned at the beginning of the article, many footballers have their team and training obligations scheduled in the middle of the day. This would make lunch the last major meal before the activity starts. That is why we need to make the appropriate adjustments to make the plate as responsive as possible in regards to our needs.

THE PRE-GAME NUTRITIONAL CHECKLIST!

Speaking of, these are primarily to a) load up your glycogen stores and blood glucose, and b) make you feel as best as possible.

This can be done only by applying some basic principles of sports nutrition and of course, by being self-aware of how your body reacts to certain foods and beverages.

Why Simple Carbs And Not Complex?

Having said all of that, the plate of a pre-game/training meal should mainly consist of simple sources of carbohydrates, such as white rice, pasta, potatoes, etc., which are fast-digesting foods. These will shorten the loading period and at the same time prevent any stomach discomfort (i.e. bloating) that complex sources of carbs can cause due to their high dietary fiber content. If your body can process fibrous foods aka complex carbohydrates with ease, you might as well opt for a simple and complex carb mix in your lunch for football.

Stomach Discomfort & Dietary Fiber

Furthermore, expanding on the topic of stomach discomfort, we shall aim to minimize any foods and ingredients that may lead to this. Protein should preferably come from lean sources. The portion of your protein may need regulation as protein is high in fiber (bloating alert!). If you include any fats, make sure they are healthy ones, such as olive oil, avocados, hummus, etc. Portion size should also be regulated here.

Avoid ingredients that your body can’t tolerate. These might be sauces, especially hot ones, seasonings, vegetables with a high fiber content, such as broccoli, peas, cabbage, cauliflower, etc., and carbonated beverages.

Pre-Game/Training Meal Checklist

  • High in Simple Carbohydrates (or a mix between complex and simple carbohydrates)
  • Small Portion of Lean Protein and Healthy Fats
  • Vegetables Low in Fiber/Easy for you to Process
  • Fruit = Dessert!
  • Nutrient Ratio ~ 60-70%C – 20-30% P – 0-10% F

PICKING A PROPER PORTION SIZE

We might have analyzed what you need to put in your lunch and in what ratio, but the portion also plays an important role. Portion size is basically defined by the caloric/energy content of your meal. But what is the “right portion”? Is there a “right” one at all?

Yes, there is one, and it is the portion you feel most comfortable performing with. Here’s where self-awareness and experience play a massive role. There are some players that may find a huge pre-game/training meal the most beneficial, but there are also players that opt for a “lighter” stomach.

Your “job” is to find what works the best for you. Experiment with yourself (primarily on training days) to find out how your body reacts to certain foods and ingredients. One thing we would like to suggest is a food journal to keep track of what you eat. There are also many tracker apps that can help you with that.

Here are some scenarios that may resonate with you.

Portion

  • Heavy Dinner -> Heavy Breakfast -> Light Lunch
  • Heavy Dinner -> Light Breakfast -> Heavy Lunch

Carbohydrate Type

  • Complex Carbs (Dinner) -> Complex Carbs (Breakfast) -> Simple Carbs (Lunch)
  • Mix (Dinner) -> Mix (Breakfast) -> Mix (Lunch)
  • Complex (Dinner) -> Simple (Breakfast) -> Simple (Lunch)

THE SUM UP

Since lunch is for many footballers the last meal before activity, it is appropriate to say that this meal should be energy-filling and structured based on individual preferences.

As a rule of thumb, a lunch for football should be high in simple carbohydrates, however, complex ones can also be added if tolerated.

Protein hasn’t got a primary role here, as well as fats. Micronutrients are also important but it is smart to avoid the ones your body can’t handle (usually the ones with a high fiber content).

The portion size is completely up to you and how comfortable you feel. Make the appropriate adjustments and avoid overeating or undereating. Both ends will definitely not benefit you and help maximize performance outputs.

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