Game Day Meal Plans For Athletes: Fuel Up With the New York Red Bulls

New York Red Bulls nutritionist Tara Ostrowe outlines a suggested game-day meal plan for soccer players.

You've practiced, lifted and watched all the film you possibly can. Now it's game day. If you're like many high schoolers, you probably wake up, grab a prepackaged breakfast "food" and zip out the door. Later you chow down on a state-approved lunch during a few moments between classes. By the time you hit the field, you're probably asking yourself, "Why didn't I grab an extra sandwich?"

Yeah, don't do that.

Proper fuel will prime you for your best performances. To get you the right meal plan, we connected with registered dietitians who advise the pros in just about every sport. Here, we presenting the first installment of our series, "Game Day Meal Plans For Athletes," kicking things off with the New York Red Bulls. You'll get another helping soon.

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Sport: Soccer
Game Time: 4 p.m.
Expert: Tara Ostrowe, Red Bulls' nutritionist

The Meal Plan

Note: eat all meals until you're comfortably full. Exact amounts vary from person to person.


"As soon as the players wake up, they want to get in 16 ounces of water, so they're hydrating as soon as they wake up," Ostrowe says. "Breakfast would probably be an egg white omelet with a bowl of oatmeal topped with blueberries and strawberries. Many of the Red Bulls players eat that as a pretty typical breakfast."

Mid-Morning Snack (approximately two hours after breakfast)

"I would recommend a mid-morning snack like a banana or a handful of almonds just to keep the athlete's energy steady," says Ostrowe.

Lunch (approximately noon)

"Make sure lunch is something low in fat that is not going to cause the body to spend time and energy digesting the fat," says Ostrowe. "Ideally it would be a grilled chicken breast with brown rice or whole wheat pasta. Then a salad or some steamed vegetables on the side, with a little bit of light dressing."

Pre-Game Snack (approximately an hour before your match)

"About an hour before getting out on the field, I would recommend a bowl of fruit and some low-fat Greek yogurt," says Ostrowe. "[They could also opt for] a Gatorade Prime drink or the Prime Chews before they get on the field."

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Intra-Game Snack (halftime)

"I definitely recommend refueling at half time, making sure they are getting a sports drink in," Ostrowe says. "Usually we will have some fruit too, like a banana to continue to fuel their performance."

Post-Game Recovery Snack (immediately after the game)

"As soon as they get off the field, they should start the recovery process," says Ostrowe. "For one of our players, ideally it should be about 20 grams of protein and about 45 grams of carbohydrates."

Post-Game Meal (approximately one hour after the game)

"[Your post game meal could be] one or two pieces of grilled salmon, a baked sweet potato, a salad and some fresh fruit," Ostrowe says. "Add some olive oil and avocado to the salad as well."

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