The revelations of one of the top nutritionists in the Premier League: what do footballers eat and what are the “forbidden foods”

The best players in the Premier League undergo a strict diet (Reuters) (ANDREW BOYERS /)

The best athletes on the planet not only push themselves to the limit during their workouts, but also during their meals. To take care of their physique and be able to give everything on the court, high-performance athletes undergo strict diet and footballers are not exempt. While some of the best players on the planet, like Cristiano Ronaldo either Zlatan Ibrahimovic, have their own chefs and nutritionists, most of them follow the recommendations given by the specialists of their clubs. In this context, one of them told details of how they work in that environment.

Liam Holmes 12 years ago establishing food plans for soccer players of the Premier League and among others he has worked with the campuses of the Fluhamof Tottenhamwith particular stars and even with the Ireland team. He currently works in the Scottish Celtic and in dialogue with the portal The Sun has made public the details of the diets of football professionals.

First of all, the British explained that the fundamental thing is not only that the athletes follow the recommendations to the letter, but also that they do so consistently throughout the seasonsince it is useless to submit to a regime sporadically or only to play important games.

The nutritionist then told what he feeds the players the night before a match: “Most players eat exactly the same food the night before a game. If you’re planning a big workout or have a big soccer game, I always recommend this strategy: a large serving of carbohydrates like rice, potatoes, grains, or breads, accompanied by a serving of lean protein and vegetables”. This “helps recharge match-ready energy stores while providing micronutrients for recovery.”

Cristiano Ronaldo has his own chef and his personal nutritionist (Reuters)
Cristiano Ronaldo has his own chef and his personal nutritionist (Reuters) (TOBY MELVILLE /)

In turn, the day of the game overload is avoided in all points of view for that reason “a typical pre-meal tends to consist of a small portion of lean protein, some simple carbohydrates like a handful of brown rice, some vegetables, and a small portion of fat, like cheese or avocado”. Low fiber carbohydrates are key in this instance as are easily digestible vegetables to keep players feeling light. That is why in a dish prior to jumping onto the court, you can find peas, carrots or rice.

Once the action is over, the plan of the “three Rs” continues: rehydrate, repair and recover. “The players take some kind of recovery shake, which includes protein, electrolytes and carbohydrates to start the process”said Holmes, who also explained that these can be purchased at nutrition stores, so anyone can access them if they want.

In addition, players are recommended not eating a dish for 60 to 90 minutes after the final whistle. Instead, you can opt during this period for a healthy snack or fruit.

The diet continues the next day with a breakfast that includes eggs, Greek yogurt, nuts, berries, smoothies, and beans to soothe sore muscles and recharge. Already at lunch, and taking into account that there is usually no training that day, “the menu includes salmon or beef or chicken thigh, accompanied by potatoes, grains and many fruits and vegetables.”

It also stands out as vital that footballers eat protein throughout the day on a consistent basis: “Dark-colored fruits such as berries, green vegetables, oily fish such as salmon, tomatoes, peppers, and spices can help recovery.”

Nutritionists, like psychologists, have long been part of the most important soccer clubs in the world and their role is key to the good performance of the players (Reuters)
Nutritionists, like psychologists, have long been part of the most important soccer clubs in the world and their role is key to the good performance of the players (Reuters) (PETER CZIBORRA /)

Lastly, “IA bedtime snack will usually be Greek yogurt and fruit or cottage cheese and oatmeal pancakes to provide slow-release protein overnight to further aid recovery.”

Obviously there are foods that are banned. Although Holmes recognizes that soccer players are people before being professionals and many times they deserve to succumb to a little temptation, this should be allowed outside of pre-season times, that is, when there are no daily training sessions or matches. Only at those times, and on some occasions, can he get up the prohibition that governs alcohol, fried foods, very fatty foods and processed foods.

In this wayFrench fries, soft drinks, cookies or cakes, among others, are outside the regime. “They avoid these ultra-processed foods because they have little to no nutritional quality and can contribute to inflammation, something we want to actively avoid in footballers as much as possible,” Liam said.

Although, interestingly, sweets or some cakes can sneak in. Because they are dense in sugar, these foods are able to quickly replenish energy like almost no other, even if their nutritional value is not good. Therefore, if necessary, can be consumed at halftime of a game or during a very demanding training to avoid and even pressure drops.

One of the most controversial infusions is coffee. In the opinion of this nutritionist, Caffeine does not have to be negative in that it can even help a good performance if consumed minutes before a match. or a workout, even through energy drinks. However, it is not recommended at night since rest is essential for any athlete.


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