Skip to content
The Art Of Game Day Nutrition

The Art Of Game Day Nutrition

When it comes to game day nutrition, most of us are aware of the importance of getting our pre match meal right as well as focusing on good levels of hydration. But is amending your eating and drinking habits a few hours before kick off enough to ensure that high level performance we are all looking for?

For optimal performance your preparation should actually start the day before, and the timing of your meals is crucial. Below we will discuss the key stages of your game day nutrition using a 3pm kick off time as an example. Test any new strategies/ meals you are going to implement using training, before using it on match day.

The night before

  • You should begin to prepare your body for the exertions to come
  • Consume extra water
  • Reduce fat intake and increase carb intake
  • Emphasis on carbohydrate intake to replenish stores lost from the weeks training and increase glycogen stores in the muscles and liver
  • Ensure adequate mineral/ salt intake to avoid cramp
  • Avoid any form of alcohol


  • Slow digesting carbs such as oats/raisins so that energy is released over several hours
  • Drink 1-2 litres of water between breakfast and leading up to the game
  • Ensure that you sip your liquids pre match to avoid a sudden urge to use the toilet

Pre-game meal

  • 3-4 hours before kick off
  • A light, solid meal (chicken and pasta, not soup for example)
  • Try not to exceed 500 cals
  • Ideal sources of carbs: Pasta, rice, whole grain bread, fruit, cereals
  • Proteins: Turkey, chicken, youghurt, milk
  • Avoid fatty foods such as fried eggs and burgers as can upset stomach

Pre-game snack

  • 1 hour before kick off
  • High in carbs and a drink to maintain hydration

Pre-game hydration

  • Ensure that urine is pale yellow or clear before the game
  • Hydration should have started atleast 4 hours before kick off

During the match

  • Get additional carbs and minerals from sports drinks (electrolyte drinks)
  • Maintain hydration whenever possible
  • Fruit, sports bars, gels at half time

Post-match nutrition

  • 30-120 mins post match is the ideal window of opportunity
  • Rehydrate and replenish electrolytes
  • Carbs to restore depleted muscle glycogen levels
  • Protein to rebuild muscle
  • Keep replenishing glycogen stores with carbs for atleast the next 24 hours


Previous article How Much Energy Do You Really Have?
Next article The Effects Of Hydration On Football Performance