Team sports are fun. Whether you are a member of a soccer team, running club, or pick-up basketball team, the culture of team sports can easily lead to post-game food feasts, beer fests, and a suboptimal sports diet. Sure, part of team fun is food, but think twice and make sure you celebrate with functional foods that will improve team performance!
Research suggests when a team enjoys a carbohydrate-based sports diet that replenishes depleted muscle glycogen stores, the athletes perform better. For example, a motion-analysis study with ice hockey players indicates the better-fueled players with a higher carb intake were able to skate faster and more distance during the final period of the game.
Whether at home or on the road, hungry soccer players who have easy-access to pre-planned, balanced sports meals to eat before, during and after games will recover faster, rehydrate better, and function better. They can outperform hungry athletes fending for themselves who end up eating hit-or-miss convenience foods.
You need not be the team that trains hard but “forgets” to fuel appropriately. To find a sports dietitian to work with your team, use the referral network at www.SCANdpg.org. You and your teammates will always wins with good nutrition!
Nancy Clark RD and Gloria Averbuch
Authors, Food Guide for Soccer: Tips and Recipes From the Pros
PS. For recipes for winning sports nutrition foods you can prepare for your post-game parties, refer to Food Guide for Soccer: Tips and Recipes From the Pros (www.nancyclarkrd.com).