Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tip of the week by Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark – Make Time for Breakfast!

As an aspiring soccer star, plan to start your day with breakfast preferably within two hours of waking. From female athletes on a 1,800-calorie weight reduction diet, to tall men who devour 3,600+ calories a day, soccer athletes deserve to eat  a hefty 500 to 900 calorie morning meal(s). If you train in the morning (such as in summer camps or team pre-season), you might want to eat part of your breakfast (as tolerated) before practice, and then enjoy the rest of the breakfast afterwards, either at home, on the way to class, or in your car.

Despite our clear message about breakfast being the most important meal of the day, we have to coax many soccer athletes to experiment with eating (more) breakfast. Far too many of them under-eat in the morning. Let’s take at look at just one standard breakfast excuse—and solutions.

“I don't have time to eat breakfast…”

Lack of priority is the real problem, not lack of time. If you can make time to train, you can make time to fuel for your training. Even if you choose to sleep to the last minute before dragging yourself out of bed to go to school, work, or a soccer practice or game, you can still choose to eat breakfast on the way. Some simple portable breakfasts include:

• a baggie filled with raisins, almonds, and granola.
• a tortilla rolled with a slice or two of low-fat cheese.
• a peanut butter and honey sandwich on wholesome bread.
• a glass of milk, then a banana while on the way to your destination.
• a travel mug filled with a fruit smoothie or protein shake.
• an energy bar and a banana during the morning commute.

Excerpted from Food Guide for Soccer—Tips & Recipes From the Pros, with Women’s Professional Soccer, by Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, RD. Available on or

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tip of the week by Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark - Hooray for Carbohydrates!

Athletes and other active people should embrace, not shun, a diet that relies primarily on carbohydrates. Fortunately, the cooler temperatures of fall and winter often lend themselves to traditional “carbohydrate cravings.” Ironically, avoiding these cravings usually leads only to other, more destructive cravings: such as for refined carbohydrates, like the kind in sweets. So, do yourself a favor, and include wholesome grains as the foundation of each meal!
Below is some advice and recommendations from Food Guide for Soccer: Tips and Recipes from the Pros.

Carbohydrates for Your Sports Diet

By eating grains, fruits and vegetables as the foundation of each meal, you'll consume about 55 to 65% of your calories from carbohydrates. This is exactly what you need for a high-energy sports diet. These carbohydrates are stored in muscles in the form of glycogen and provide the energy you need for performing on the soccer field.

Grain foods are a popular source of carbohydrates for most soccer athletes. The exceptions are the weight-conscious athletes who believe they will get fat if they eat breads, cereals and pastas at each meal. False. Carbohydrates are not fattening; excess calories are fattening.

Fruits and vegetables are also excellent sources of carbohydrates. But some players have trouble figuring out how to consume the recommended daily 2 cups (500 g) of fruits and 2-1/2 cups (600 g) of vegetables. As one 22-year-old soccer player sheepishly remarked, "I'm lucky if I eat that much in a week." The trick is to eat large portions. Most soccer players can easily enjoy a banana (counts as one cup fruit) and 8 ounces (one cup) of orange juice in the morning. That’s already the minimal 2 cups of fruit for the day! A big bowl of salad filled with colorful tomato, carrot, and pepper can account for the minimal recommended 21/2 cups of vegetables.

Eat Right for Yourself, And for Your Team

Just as each teammate depends on the others to be fit, focused and ready to play, so too with being well-nourished. When you eat right, you do so for yourself and for the team effort, since what, when and how you fuel has a direct impact on your performance. Parents, coaches, team captains and/or managers: take a poll before games. Ask players what and when they ate before arriving. If it isn’t up to speed (often that means not enough), pass the pre-game snacks. Make sure to do this, particularly for important games. The players will soon got the message, and learn to eat well on their own.

Excerpted from Food Guide for Soccer—Tips & Recipes From the Pros, with Women’s Professional Soccer, by Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, RD. Available on or