Any athlete knows that when they’ve got an important soccer game coming, they’ve got to fuel up. Soccer means a lot of moving around, so most players like to reach for the same foods every time, like energy bars. What if you could stir things up with something completely different? Instead of grabbing the same granola or smoothie, it would be fun to start exploring more exotic sources of fuel before your next sports event. Here are six totally unexpected food sources to give you a strong game.
Performing sports like soccer is one of several instances when carbohydrates are your friends. Before gearing up for a hard game, some people fuel themselves with an enriched bagel or a plate of pasta. While these are good sources of carbs, try experimenting with something different such as cassava root, otherwise known as yuca. Cassava root has the carbs you need to perform well and is low in fat. You can even buy cassava root flour and create dishes like easy-to-make Dr. Gundry’s cassava waffles that are delicious and energy boosting!
If you’re looking for a good surge in energy, think about fortifying your meal with peanut or almond butter. Nut butters are incredibly satiating and the protein keeps you going strong for hours. They’re even better when paired with a banana or a slice of whole grain bread. Carbs paired with protein are the perfect combination to keep you moving.
Chickpeas and Hummus
Chickpeas, otherwise known as garbanzos, are tasty and nourishing little powerhouses. You may have grown up seeing them on salad bars, but did you know they’re loaded with protein? So much, in fact, that vegetarians regularly use them as a meat substitute. Hummus is made from chickpeas and comes in an array of flavors, perfect for serving with vegetables, whole grain pita or crackers. They’re also a good source of phytoestrogens, shown to be helpful in many women.
It seems like everything these days contains quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) including what’s known as a power-bowl. Many power-bowls feature quinoa and vegetables to get you moving. Quinoa cooks up similar to rice and provides you with long-lasting fuel due to its high protein. It also contains all necessary amino acids which makes it stand out in the grain category. It’s high in fiber and has a pleasant nutty flavor. Eat quinoa in salads, soups or chili.
Edamame is another name for soybeans. If you’ve never tried it, you’re in for a treat as these steamed little beans are highly addictive. You’ll find edamame in the freezer section of your supermarket. Sold both in their pods or shelled, these nuggets are not only yummy, but high in protein and fiber. Enjoy them plain, or tossed into a salad. You can also purchase them roasted and ready to take anywhere. Soybeans, of course, contain soy which has been controversial for a long time. There are many benefits to adding soybeans to your diet, so be sure to research them thoroughly.
Can you remember the last time you ate beets? If not, you’ll be surprised to learn that beets don’t just provide energy, they also improve stamina which will really improve your soccer game. Beets have been known to improve blood pressure because of the naturally occurring nitrates they contain and that’s an added bonus. Enjoy beets as a soup, juice, roasted or steamed. If you make beets a regular part of your diet, don’t be alarmed if your urine turns a pinkish color. This is a normal side effect of eating beets.
Brand New Foods
Every athlete has his or her favorite foods to give them a boost before a game. Many times, the same foods can become a dull routine. Break out of the rut and bring some brand new foods into your life. You just might discover a tasty new food that works better than anything you’ve ever tried before.