Figuring out what to eat before a workout is no easy task. Doing this as a soccer player is certainly not an exception. For one thing, you need to energize and strengthen your body before practicing. However, you shouldn’t risk becoming sluggish and nauseous while doing cardio. If you’re an active soccer player, it’s important to find a balance in this regard. So, here are four things to eat before playing soccer.

Dark and Leafy Greens

No matter what you’re doing, it’s usually a good idea to eat dark and leafy greens. This includes spinach, kale, arugula, bok choy, collard greens, mustard greens, swiss chard and rapini. While each of these greens has different benefits, most all contain high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium. Therefore, eating one of these vegetables is a great way to replenish your body’s nutrients. This can help you to maintain strength and energy while playing soccer. Contrary to popular belief, there are many ways to prepare dark leafy greens that will taste good. However, it can’t hurt to have some restaurant equipment to help out. Try stir-frying or steaming the veggies and adding some olive oil. Afterward, garnish the snack with spices. Garlic and chilli flakes are usually a good option.

Fruit

Fruit is excellent to eat before doing intense sports. Essentially, many fruits contain high amounts of healthy carbohydrates. While many people prefer to stay away from carbs, healthy ones can be very beneficial, particularly for your energy level. Carbs provide your body with extra glucose, which may be sorely needed when you work your muscles. So, if you feel yourself lagging before soccer practice, you might want to eat some fruit. An excellent option to keep around is bananas. Not only do bananas have high levels of carbs, but the fruit also contains a lot of potassium. This can help support your nerves and muscles.

Protein

When it comes to protein and workouts, timing is everything. It’s rarely a good idea to eat a lot of protein right before practice. However, playing soccer without any protein could result in a lackluster performance. Basically, protein can assist with muscle protein synthesis, as well as muscle recovery and mass. If you’re trying to build up your muscle mass, eating this macronutrient is particularly important. When you have time, be sure to eat protein about two to three hours before practice. This allows your body to digest the meal beforehand. If you don’t have enough time to do this, get some light protein. An easy way to do this is by eating a protein bar, or at least a few bites of one. You could also chow down on some nuts or beans.

Oats

Oats, similar to fruit, are a great source of healthy carbohydrates. Unlike fruits, the fiber in oats allows the carbs to release slowly. This is especially helpful when playing sports. Basically, the slow release of carbs can keep your energy at a consistent level. Fortunately, there’s a multitude of delicious ways to eat oats. An excellent option to try, especially if you’re playing soccer in the morning, is oatmeal. However, you may want to avoid the popular, sugar-filled brands of oatmeal. Instead, you can easily make your own at home. If you’re in desperate need of something filling and delicious, try having a healthy oatmeal cookie. One option you may not have heard of is oatmeal bread. While this form of bread isn’t well known, it’s delicious and nutritious. You can also try baking it with fruit, such as blueberries or bananas.

When it comes to eating before playing sports, timing is everything. Never eat a full meal right before a game, especially if you’re playing a demanding position. This could result in extreme nausea or even faintness. However, you should also avoid playing on an empty stomach. Try having a meal a few hours before playing. No matter what, be conscientious with your eating choices.